FPSO Almirante Barroso; Credit: CHUN YEAU NG; Source: Petrobras

Brand-new FPSO starts work at ‘largest deepwater field in the world’

Brazilian state-owned energy giant Petrobras has kicked off production from a new floating production storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel, deployed at – what the company deems to be – the largest deepwater field in the world, which is located in the pre-salt Santos Basin offshore Brazil.

FPSO Almirante Barroso; Credit: CHUN YEAU NG; Source: Petrobras

MODEC received a letter of intent for the supply, charter, and operation of a fifth FPSO for the Petrobras-operated Búzios field in June 2019. Converted from a very large crude carrier (VLCC) and delivered by COSCO Shipping Dalian in China, the FPSO Almirante Barroso MV32 started its navigation towards Brazil in July 2022. The vessel arrived on 5 October 2022 in Angra dos Reis, in the state of Rio de Janeiro to start commissioning in a local shipyard.

In an update on Wednesday, 31 May 2023, Petrobras confirmed the start-up of production from the FPSO Almirante Barroso, which has the capacity to produce daily up to 150 thousand barrels of oil and 6 million m³ of gas. This vessel is expected to contribute to the oil production of the Búzios field, which currently averages 560,000 barrels per day, equivalent to about 17 per cent of national production.

Jean Paul Prates, Petrobras CEO, commented: “Búzios synthesizes how representative the pre-salt is for Petrobras’ production, besides being important for the country’s energy security. By 2025, when the FPSO Almirante Barroso will be close to its maximum capacity and we will have the entry of other units, the field’s production should reach close to the 700,000 barrels per day mark.”

Located 180 km off the coast of Rio de Janeiro, the FPSO Almirante Barroso operates in a water depth of 1,900 metres as the fifth platform to start operating in the Búzios field, where the P-74, P-75, P-76, and P-77 units are already in production.

The current development concept for the Búzios deepwater field encompasses 11 platforms. At the moment, six units are under construction, including the FPSO Almirante Tamandaré, P-78, P-79, P-80, P-82, and P-83. Petrobras is the operator of the field, with an 88.99 per cent stake with CNOOC (7.34 per cent) and CNODC (3.67 per cent) as partners.

Xia Qinglong, president of CNOOC, remarked: “Buzios 5 is the first project to commence production after CNOOC Limited joins Buzios project, which will inject new momentum into our overseas production growth. We adhere to win-win cooperation with the host government and partners, to jointly develop the world-class ultra-deepwater project, and to contribute to the sustainable development of Brazil’s oil and gas industry, economy and society.”