FPSO Sepetiba; Source: SBM Offshore

SBM Offshore confirms FPSO’s achievement of first oil off Brazil

Dutch FPSO operator SBM Offshore has corroborated the start of production from a floating production, storage, and offloading (FPSO) vessel, which is working on Petrobras’ giant oil field in the Santos Basin offshore Brazil.

FPSO Sepetiba; Source: SBM Offshore

As a result of a 22.5-year lease and operation deal from December 2019 with SBM Offshore, Petrobras chartered the FPSO Sepetiba for operations on its Mero field in the Santos Basin offshore Brazil. According to SBM Offshore, this FPSO is formally on hire as of January 2, 2024, after achieving first oil and the completion of a 72-hour continuous production test leading to final acceptance.

The FPSO Sepetiba, which is owned and operated by special purpose companies owned by affiliated companies of SBM Offshore (64.5%) and its partners (35.5%), comes with a production capacity of 180,000 barrels of oil per day (b/d) and a compression capacity of up to 12 million cubic meters of gas.

The start of production from the second development phase of the Mero field in the Libra block more than 180 kilometers off the coast of Rio de Janeiro, which is the third largest field in Brazil after Tupi and Búzios, comes months after Petrobras welcomed the arrival of the vessel in Brazilian waters. 

Related Article

The field will now be able to reach a production capacity of 410,000 b/d while two additional development phases of 180,000 b/d each – Mero-3 and Mero-4 – are currently under construction, with start-ups expected by 2025. The Mero field is currently also home to the FPSO Pioneiro de Libra with the capacity to produce up to 50,000 bpd, operating the early production system (SPA 2).

In addition, the field hosts the FPSO Guanabara with the capacity to produce up to 180,000 bpd, which reached its production peak of 179,000 barrels of oil per day in February 2023, about eight months after the first oil. 

The Mero unitized field is operated by Petrobras (38.6%), in partnership with Shell Brasil (19.3%), TotalEnergies (19.3%), CNPC (9.65%), CNOOC (9.65%) and Pré-Sal Petróleo (PPSA) (3.5%), representing the Brazilian government in the non-contracted area.

Petrobras plans to put many new FPSO units into operation in the pre-salt layer offshore Brazil by 2027 to boost production, enabling it to reach 2.4 million boe. During the next five years, oil and natural gas are expected to be given the biggest slice of the Brazilian giant’s $102 billion investment pie.