FPSO for the BM-C-33 project; Source: MODEC

MODEC hired to provide ‘one of the most complex’ FPSOs in its history

Japan’s FPSO provider MODEC has signed a sales and purchase agreement (SPA) with Equinor Brasil Energia Ltd, a subsidiary of Norway’s Equinor, to supply a floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel, which is destined to work at the Norwegian giant’s recently sanctioned oil and gas project in the Campos Basin offshore Brazil.

FPSO for the BM-C-33 project; Source: MODEC

This FPSO, which will work at the cluster consisting of the Pao de Acucar, Seat and Gavea fields in the BM-C-33 block of the Campos Basin offshore Brazil, is described as “one of the most complex facilities in MODEC’s history,” handling large volumes of exported gas with a major focus on GHG emissions reduction. Equinor made the final investment decision to develop the project on 8 May 2023. At the time, the Norwegian player revealed an investment of approximately $9 billion in the project with natural gas and oil/condensate recoverable reserves above one billion barrels of oil equivalent.

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. The start-up of the project is planned for 2028. 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.

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According to MODEC, the SPA is a two-phase lump sum turnkey contract covering both front end engineering design (FEED) and engineering, procurement, construction and installation (EPCI) for the entire FPSO. After the completion of the FEED, which started in April 2022, the Japanese player has now secured the award for the second phase of the contract, covering the EPCI work for the FPSO. In addition, the firm will provide Equinor with operations and maintenance service of the FPSO for the first year from the first oil production, after which Equinor plans to operate the FPSO.

Takeshi Kanamori, President and CEO of MODEC, commented: “We are extremely honoured and proud to be selected to provide an FPSO for the BM-C-33 project. We are equally proud of the confidence Equinor obviously has in MODEC. We believe this award represents a strong relationship of trust between us built upon the ongoing Bacalhau FPSO project as well as our robust track record in the pre-salt region. We look forward to cooperating closely with Equinor and partners to make this project a success.”

Furthermore, MODEC will be responsible for the design and construction of the FPSO, including topsides processing equipment and hull marine systems. The vessel will have topsides designed to produce approximately 125,000 barrels of crude oil per day as well as produce and export approximately 565 million standard cubic feet of associated gas per day while the minimum storage capacity of crude oil will be 2,000,000 barrels.

The FPSO will apply the Japanese firm’s new build, full double hull design, developed to accommodate larger topsides and larger storage capacity than conventional VLCC tankers, with a longer design service life. Taking advantage of this larger topside space, MODEC underlines that this FPSO will be the second fully electrified FPSO equipped with a combined cycle system for power generation, which is expected to significantly reduce carbon emissions compared with conventional gas turbine driven systems.

Upon completion, the FPSO will be deployed in the giant pre-salt region at the southern part of Campos Basin, approximately 200 kilometres off the coast of Rio de Janeiro, and permanently moored at a water depth of approximately 2,900 metres. The spread mooring system will be supplied by SOFEC. The FPSO is scheduled for delivery in 2027. This will be MODEC’s 18th FPSO/FSO vessel and the 10th FPSO in the pre-salt region delivered in Brazil.