Photo: Illustration; Courtesy of SBM Offshore

Japanese partners invest in another SBM Offshore FPSO

Dutch FPSO operator SBM Offshore has divested a minority interest in the FPSO Alexandre de Gusmão project, the second one this year, to two Japanese partners.

On 30 November 2021, SBM Offshore signed contracts with Petrobras for the 22.5 years lease and operation of FPSO Alexandre de Gusmão for deployment on the Mero field in the Santos Basin offshore Brazil. This will be the fourth definitive system to be installed in the Mero field and SBM Offshore’s fifth MPF hull has been allocated to this project.

Following the announcement in November 2021, SBM Offshore revealed on Wednesday it has now entered into a shareholder agreement with its long-standing business partners, Japan’s Mitsubishi Corporation (MC) and Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (NYK).

As a result, MC and NYK have acquired a respective 25 per cent and 20 per cent ownership interest in the special purpose companies related to the lease and operation of the FPSO Alexandre de Gusmão. SBM Offshore is the operator and will remain the majority shareholder with 55 per cent ownership interest.

This is the second time this year for the two Japanese companies to buy a minority stake in an SBM Offshore FPSO. Namely, in January 2022, SBM sold a minority stake in Almirante Tamandaré FPSO, which will be deployed at the Búzios field in the Santos Basin. The first oil is expected in the second half of 2024.

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The FPSO Alexandre de Gusmão is currently under construction. The vessel will be deployed at the Mero field in the Santos Basin offshore Brazil, 160 kilometres offshore Rio de Janeiro, under the lease and operate contract with Petrobras. SBM has already secured a bridge loan for the construction of the FPSO.

The Mero Unitized field is operated by Petrobras (38.6 per cent) in partnership with Shell Brasil (19.3 per cent), TotalEnergies (19.3 per cent), CNPC (9.65 per cent), CNOOC (9.65 per cent), and Pré-sal Petróleo – PPSA (3.5 per cent) as the Federal Union representative in non-contracted areas.

The first oil from the project is expected in 2025.

It is worth reminding that SBM Offshore ordered its fourth and fifth hulls under the company’s Fast4Ward programme back in December 2019. The hulls were ordered from Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding and Offshore (SWS) and China Merchants Industry Holdings (CMIH).