Photo: FPSO P-77 in Buzios field (for illustration purposes); Source: Petrobras

Saipem picks contractor to supply electrical module for FPSO destined for giant deepwater oilfield

Italian oilfield contractor Saipem has selected France-headquartered GE Power Conversion to supply an electrical module for a floating, production, storage, and offloading (FPSO) vessel, which will be deployed on a Petrobras-operated deepwater project off the coast of Brazil.  

GE Power Conversion informed on Monday that it was chosen by Saipem to develop the electrical module for Petrobras’ FPSO P-79, the eighth unit to be installed in Búzios field, located in the Santos Basin offshore Brazil.

As a reminder, Saipem and South Korea’s shipyard DSME signed a contract with Petrobras in June 2021 for the supply of the FPSO P-79 with a capacity to process 180,000 barrels of oil per day and 7.2 million cubic meters of gas per day.

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GE Power Conversion explained that this module will be fabricated in Asia and delivered in 2023 to the integration shipyard in South Korea, prior to the scheduled date in 2025, when the FPSO is expected to start operations in the Búzios field, off the coast of the state of Rio de Janeiro, which is considered the largest deepwater oilfield in the world, GE Power Conversion said in its statement.

To deliver this electrical module, the company’s collaboration with Saipem covers medium-voltage and low-voltage switchboards and motor control centres and high-power transformers for the P-79 vessel with a high degree of local content. Considered to be the heart of the platform, the electrical module is in charge of providing all the distributed energy to power the entire FPSO, in addition to housing equipment that controls the vessel.

GE Power Conversion compares the electrical module’s size to a three or four-story building, weighing approximately 2,000 tons, 25 meters high, 22 meters wide and 33 meters long. The company’s Commercial Leader for the marine sector in Latin America, André Ribeiro, claims that this contract award is based in part on the success of six similar modules –  including P-75 and P-77 in the Búzios field – which the firm installed on other Petrobras’ FPSOs operating in the pre-salt area.

The responsibility for project management, engineering and manufacturing of the electrical equipment for the electrical module falls under the jurisdiction of GE Power Conversion in Belo Horizonte in the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil. According to the company, the electrical module will be assembled by Wasco Shipyard in Indonesia, and then placed on the FPSO at the Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co. (DSME) Shipyard in South Korea.

GE Power Conversion further added that once the equipment has been assembled, installed, and commissioned, the FPSO will sail from South Asia to the Brazilian coast.

When it comes to the most recent activities related to the Búzios field, it is worth reminding that CNOOC sealed a deal with Petrobras in March 2022 to acquire an additional stake in this field.

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Following completion, Petrobras will have an 85 per cent stake in the Production Sharing Contract of the Transfer of Rights Surplus for the Búzios field, while CNOOC and CNODC will hold 10 and 5 per cent, respectively.