Another FPSO put into operation on Petrobras’ third largest oil field off Brazil
Brazilian state-owned oil and gas giant Petrobras has kicked off production from a floating production, storage, and offloading (FPSO) vessel at its giant oil field in the pre-salt area of the Santos Basin offshore Brazil. This is the third production unit at the field, out of a total of five, since two are yet to be installed.
The start of production from the second development phase of the Mero field on the Libra block located more than 180 kilometers off the coast of Rio de Janeiro, comes months after Petrobras welcomed the arrival of the FPSO Sepetiba to Brazilian waters. This vessel was chartered by the Brazilian oil and gas giant, thanks to a 22.5-year lease and operation deal from December 2019 with SBM Offshore, also responsible for its construction.
Sanctioned in June 2019, the second development phase, or Mero-2, includes the FPSO Sepetiba with a production capacity of 180,000 barrels of oil per day (b/d) and a compression capacity of up to 12 million cubic meters of gas. Thanks to Mero-2, the Mero field will reach a production capacity of 410,000 b/d. Two additional development phases of 180,000 b/d each, Mero-3 and Mero-4, are currently under construction, with start-ups expected by 2025.
Furthermore, the FPSO Sepetiba is part of a production system that encompasses the drilling and preparation for completion of eight producer wells and eight water and gas injection wells being interconnected to the unit. The vessel has been designed for zero routine flaring to minimize greenhouse gas emissions, with the associated gas reinjected into the reservoir.
In addition, the FPSO comes with innovative technologies to boost production efficiency and enable carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) activity, where CO2-rich gas is reinjected into the reservoir to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The Mero field produces around 230,000 barrels of oil and 15 million m3 of gas every day. This is a unitized field, operated by Petrobras (38.6%), in partnership with Shell Brasil (19.3%), TotalEnergies (19.3%), CNPC (9.65%), CNOOC (9.65%) and Pré-Sal Petróleo (PPSA) (3.5%), as the government’s representative in the non-contracted area.
Patrick Pouyanné, Chairman and CEO of TotalEnergies, commented: “The production start-up of Mero-2 is a new milestone for TotalEnergies in Brazil, a key growth area for the company. With its vast resources and world-class productivity, the Mero development delivers low-cost and low-emission oil production, in line with the strategy of our company.”
The Mero field is currently also home to the FPSO Pioneiro de Libra, with the capacity to produce up to 50,000 bpd, operating the early production system (SPA 2), and the FPSO Guanabara, with the capacity to produce up to 180,000 bpd, which reached its production peak of 179,000 barrels of oil per day in February 2023, about eight months after the first oil.
Mero is the third largest field in Brazil, after Tupi and Búzios, also located in the pre-salt area of the Santos Basin. Petrobras revealed plans in 2023 to put 11 additional FPSO units into operation in the pre-salt layer offshore Brazil by 2027, which are anticipated to boost production, enabling it to reach 2.4 million boe.
During the next five years, oil and natural gas are expected to be given the biggest slice of the Brazilian giant’s $102 billion investment pie while $11.5 billion is earmarked for projects that will enable a reduction in carbon footprint.
Recently, Petrobras embarked on drilling operations, which mark the resumption of the company’s search for oil and gas in the Equatorial Margin, stretching along the Brazilian coast from the state of Rio Grande do Norte to Amapá.
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