BM-C-33 project; Source: Equinor

Equinor unveils $9 billion investment in oil & gas project off Brazil

Norwegian state-owned energy giant Equinor has made a final investment decision for an oil and gas project in the Campos Basin offshore Brazil, which is expected to be the country’s first project to treat the gas offshore and be connected to the national grid without further onshore processing.

BM-C-33 project; Source: Equinor

Together with its partners, Repsol Sinopec Brasil and Petrobras, Equinor, as the operator of the BM-C-33 project, has taken the final investment decision to develop the project, revealing an investment of approximately $9 billion. This project comprises three different pre-salt discoveries – Pão de Açúcar, Gávea and Seat – containing natural gas and oil/condensate recoverable reserves above one billion barrels of oil equivalent.

Geir Tungesvik, Equinor’s executive vice president for Projects, Drilling & Procurement, commented: “The final investment decision of BM-C-33 is an important milestone for the partners and for Equinor. Together with partners and suppliers, we have developed a significant project which will provide Brazil with energy to meet its growing energy demands and create value for owners and society, contributing to local industrial development. Brazil is one of Equinor’s core areas and the investment in BM-C-33 emphasises the strategic importance of our Brazilian portfolio.”

According to Equinor, the concept selected for BM-C-33 is based on an FPSO capable of processing gas and oil/condensate and specifying these for sale without a need for further onshore processing. The FPSO’s production capacity is 16 million cubic meters of gas per day with average exports expected of 14 million cubic meters of gas per day. The start-up of the project is planned for 2028.

Veronica Coelho, Equinor’s Country Manager in Brazil, remarked: “BM-C-33 is one of the main projects in the country to bring new supplies of domestic gas, being a key contributor to the further development of the Brazilian gas market. Gas exported from the project could represent 15 per cent of the total Brazilian gas demand at start-up. Its development will also contribute to the energy security and economic development, enabling a lot of new job opportunities locally.”

Furthermore, BM-C-33 will be Equinor’s second FPSO in Brazil using combined cycle gas turbines, significantly reducing carbon emissions during operations. In addition, the technology will be applied in Bacalhau, in the Santos Basin, combining a gas turbine with a steam turbine to take advantage of the excess heat that would otherwise be lost. By implementing this technology, the Norwegian giant claims that the average CO2 intensity of BM-C-33 over its lifetime will be lower than 6 kilos per barrel of oil equivalent.

Based on Equinor’s statement, the natural gas will be exported to the coast through a 200-kilometre offshore gas pipeline from the FPSO to the Cabiúnas Terminal – TECAB and then connect to the gas transportation network while liquids are planned to be offloaded by shuttle tankers.

The BM-C-33 block, located in water depths of up to 2,900 meters, was discovered by Repsol Sinopec in 2010 and Equinor took over the operatorship in 2016. The partners approved the development concept for BM-C-33 in March 2021. Equinor as the operator holds a 35 per cent stake in this block while Repsol Sinopec Brasil and Petrobras hold 35 and 30 per cent interest, respectively.

In a separate statement, Petrobras confirmed the final investment decision for the BM-C-33 project. The FPSO’s oil/condensate processing capacity will be 20,000 m3/day and the gas production and export capacity will be 16 million m3/day, with an average natural gas export flow of about 14 million m3/day.

Equinor awarded a letter of intent to TechnipFMC last year for an integrated front end engineering and design (iFEED) study on the BM-C-33 project.

Related Article

This included an option to proceed with a direct award to TechnipFMC for the integrated engineering, procurement, construction and installation (iEPCI) phase of the project, which would cover the entire subsea system, including Subsea 2.0 tree systems, manifolds, jumpers, rigid risers and flowlines, umbilicals, pipeline end terminations, and subsea distribution and topside control equipment.