Brazilian independent oil producer OGX Petroleo e Gas Participacoes SA, part of billionaire businessman Eike Batista's industrial empire, said late Wednesday that it had declared three offshore oil fields commercially viable for development.
The commercial declarations mean that OGX will move forward with development of the fields, which could add a much-needed boost to the company's crude-oil production after disappointing results at the Tubarao Azul field. Investors have punished OGX's shares recently amid concerns that the company will be unable to generate sufficient returns.
OGX said two fields in the previously named Pipeline accumulation will be renamed Tubarao Tigre and Tubarao Gato, while the Fuji-Illimani discover will be renamed Tubarao Areia. Evaluation plans were also submitted to local regulators to further explore the Tulum, Viedma and Vesuvio discoveries in the Campos Basin and the Curitiba Belem and Natal discoveries in the Santos Basin.
The submissions were required after exploration periods for OGX's concessions expired on Tuesday.
While commercial declarations are generally seen as positive developments for oil companies in Brazil, OGX's decision to report "in place" oil volumes for the three fields of between 521 million barrels of oil equivalent, or BOE, and 1.34 billion BOE is raising questions.
In-place oil volumes aren't the same as recoverable volumes, or the amount of oil that a company can be expected to recover from a reservoir, noted Credit Suisse in a research report. "We ask ourselves why announce 'in situ' ['in place'] when industry practice is to announce recoverable volumes, something which OGX itself did for its other two fields," Credit Suisse said.
OGX didn't provide the market with the "certainty" about the company that it needs, Credit Suisse said. A month-on-month decline in crude oil output in February caused market analysts to issue a series of downgrades on the company's shares this week, many of them equivalent to a sell rating with price targets at about $1.