Illustration; Source: Petrobras

Petrobras sets its cap on 14 new FPSOs by 2028 but decarbonization bells and whistles are a must for all

Brazil’s state-owned oil and gas giant Petrobras is laying the groundwork to put 14 new floating production, storage, and offloading (FPSO) vessels into production mode over the next five years. As the Brazilian energy heavyweight is also determined to raise its emissions reduction bar, the new FPSOs and solutions are expected to come with decarbonization tools and technologies to enable the firm to reach its net zero goals.

Illustration; Source: Petrobras

Petrobras’ energy transition pursuit is not surprising since the company is actively pursuing ways to lower its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions footprint. In line with this, the firm’s Strategic Plan 2024-2028‘ highlights its intention to dish out $102 billion over the next five years, with $11.5 billion earmarked for projects propelling its decarbonization agenda forward. 

As the Brazilian giant intends to start up 14 FPSOs from 2024 to 2028, accounting for a third of the global FPSO orders in this period, it is believed that the firm will need a broad and qualified supply chain to meet the demand for new production systems in the coming years. In addition, this will result in a considerable demand for underwater systems to connect such units.    

During an event in Houston, Carlos Travassos, Petrobras’s Engineering, Technology, and Innovation Director, underlined: “Due to the size of our portfolio, we’ll need to capture the entire market. We’ll need more staff, more materials, and more resources.”

Given that ten out of the 14 FPSOs anticipated to be online by 2028 have already been contracted and the rise in demand for underwater systems required to connect the units, Petrobras points out that suppliers have to be capable of offering and implementing solutions aligned with its decarbonization targets to meet this demand.

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“There’s no room for projects that leave out emission reduction,” affirmed Travassos, emphasizing that the company curbed the intensity of the emissions caused by exploitation and production activities by 53% from 2009 to 2023. Regarding the remaining four units of the 14 planned, the FPSOs for Albacora and Barracuda in the Campos Basin are being contracted, including two units for the Sergipe-Alagoas project (SEAP).  

While noting that the task of putting 14 units into production within five years is nothing new for Petrobras, as “we’ve done this before,” Travassos recalled that from 2019 to 2023, Petrobras put 12 FPSOs into production, increasing the installed production capacity to 1 million from 700,000 barrels of oil per day. This increase represented 50% of the production capacity added worldwide.    

Furthermore, Travassos also presented the Brazilian firm’s initiatives for research, development, and innovation (RD&I) during the event held by the Brazil-Texas Chamber of Commerce (BRATECC). He mentioned investments of $3.6 billion in RD&I until 2028, as outlined in the firm’s strategic plan.     

With an investment of $726 million, Travassos claims that Petrobras was the world’s third oil and gas company that invested the most in research and innovation last year. In addition, another $1 billion worth of funds is estimated for 2024.