FPSO Marechal Duque de Caxias; Source: Petrobras

FPSO comes to Brazilian waters and heads for Petrobras’ third largest oil field

Brazilian state-owned oil and gas giant Petrobras has welcomed the arrival of a floating production, storage, and offloading (FPSO) vessel, which set off from China to Brazilian shores. This FPSO is making its way toward the firm’s third-largest oil field in the Santos Basin where it will be deployed off the coast of Brazil.

FPSO Marechal Duque de Caxias; Source: Petrobras

Following its naming ceremony on January 17, 2024, the FPSO Marechal Duque de Caxias left the shipyard in Yantai, China, in February and stopped in Mauritius, Africa, to change crew and move cargo. According to Petrobras, the FPSO unit has arrived in Brazil.

The vessel is expected to undergo commissioning procedures and final tests of production equipment before it starts operations at the Mero field in the pre-salt Santos Basin, which is part of the Libra production sharing contract, 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 SA – PPSA (3.5%).

With the capacity to produce up to 180,000 barrels of oil daily and compress up to 12 million cubic meters of gas, the FPSO Marechal Duque de Caxias will enter into operation in the second half of this year and is part of Mero’s third definitive production system, Mero-3, that is anticipated to boost the field’s installed production capacity to 590,000 barrels of oil per day.

Mero, the third largest field in Brazil after Tupi and Búzios, is home to three FPSOs: Pioneiro de LibraGuanabara, and Sepetiba. The last one was recently put into production mode. The remaining additional development phases of 180,000 b/d each, Mero-3 and Mero-4, are currently under construction, with start-ups expected by 2025.

The FPSO Marechal Duque de Caxias is envisioned to provide for the interconnection of 15 wells, out of which eight are oil producers and seven are water and gas injectors, through a subsea infrastructure made up of 80 km of rigid production and injection pipelines, 47 km of flexible service pipelines and 44 km of control umbilicals.

Evamar José dos Santos, PPSA’s Director of Contract Management, commented: “Last year, Mero was the Union’s main oil producer, producing 11.1 of the 17 million barrels to which the Union was entitled. With the arrival of another unit, the Union’s production grows, which translates into more benefits for society.”

Petrobras intends to implement the HISEP technology in Mero’s third definitive production system from 2028, separating oil and gas at the bottom of the ocean and reinjecting CO2-rich gas. The FPSO Marechal Duque de Caxias is equipped with technologies to curb emissions, such as carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS), enabling gas rich in CO2 to be reinjected into the reservoir.

The Brazilian giant plans to start up 14 FPSOs from 2024 to 2028 in line with its Strategic Plan 2024-2028‘ showcasing the firm’s intention to spend $102 billion over the next five years, with $11.5 billion earmarked for projects propelling its decarbonization journey forward.

To turn its plans into reality, Petrobras recently confirmed a final investment decision (FID) for the second development phase of the Atapu and Sépia fields. The company also hired Seatrium on two contracts, valued at approximately S$11 billion ($8.15 billion), to construct the FPSOs P-84 and P-85.

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The FPSO duo will be deployed at the two fields in the eastern part of the Santos Basin, approximately 200 kilometers offshore of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.