Photo: FPSO Guanabara; Source: MODEC

FPSO on Brazil’s third largest oil field goes full steam ahead with maximum production capacity

Brazilian state-owned oil and gas giant Petrobras has revealed that an FPSO, which is currently producing oil and natural gas at a field in the pre-salt Santos Basin offshore Brazil, has reached its maximum production capacity.

Petrobras disclosed on Friday, 13 January 2023, that the FPSO Guanabara – installed in the Mero field, in the Santos Basin – had reached its maximum production capacity, with the mark of 180,000 barrels of oil per day (bpd), about eight months after the unit started operating.

Fernando Borges, Petrobras’ Chief Exploration and Production Officer, remarked: “The result shows a ramp-up of production at a consistent pace, indicating the field’s high productivity and a sound development strategy, within the strictest operational safety standards.”

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The Brazilian player explained that the FPSO Guanabara – the first platform in a series of four definitive units scheduled for Mero, each capable of producing up to 180,000 bpd of oil – achieved this result with four producing wells and three gas injectors.

According to Petrobras, this performance is the result of the high productivity per well, the acceleration of the learning curve, and the use of “state-of-the-art technologies” in the field – such as the so-called loop configuration for the water and gas injection wells and the separation of carbon dioxide (CO2) by membranes.

The operation of the unitized Mero field is conducted by the consortium operated by Petrobras (38.6 per cent), in partnership with Shell Brasil Petróleo (19.3 per cent), TotalEnergies EP Brasil (19.3 per cent), CNODC Brasil Petróleo e Gás (9.65 per cent), CNOOC Petroleum Brasil (9.65 per cent) and Pré-Sal Petróleo (PPSA) (3.5 per cent).    

Curbing carbon footprint

Furthermore, the firm elaborated that the FPSO Guanabara incorporates “one of the most robust” carbon capture, use and geological storage programmes, the so-called CCUS, since the Mero field has a 45 per cent gas content, enabling the reduction of CO2 emissions.

In addition, the consortium is developing “the unprecedented subsea separation technology” called HISEP for application in the field, as outlined by Petrobras. This is expected to enable the separation of the CO2-rich gas produced for reinjection into the reservoir still on the seabed. 

Moreover, the Mero field also uses the FPSO Pioneiro de Libra, which operates the early production system (SPA 2), currently producing 50,000 bpd. Therefore, the field currently produces about 230,000 bpd, thanks to two units presently operating on the field. The company further added that SPA 2 is dedicated to the evaluation of the field’s production behaviour.

In the second half of 2023, the consortium plans to install the second definitive platform at the Mero field, the FPSO Sepetiba, which is also capable of producing up to 180,000 bpd. Petrobras further disclosed that it will put another two units into operation on the field by 2025. This will bring the total number of units at the Mero field to five and correspond to 770,000 bpd of the installed capacity in the country.  

Mero is Brazil’s third largest field by volume of oil in place, behind only Tupi and Búzios, also located in the pre-salt Santos Basin.