FPSO Marechal Duque de Caxias; Source: MISC Group

Tow master selected for Brazil-bound FPSO destined for Petrobras’ giant oil field

ABL, part of the Oslo-listed energy and marine consultancy ABL Group, has been picked to act as tow master to support and supervise the towage of a floating production, storage, and offloading (FPSO) vessel from Yantai, China, to Brazilian waters. This FPSO will work on the third largest oil field in the Santos Basin off the coast of Brazil.

FPSO Marechal Duque de Caxias; Source: MISC Group

As part of its scope of work under this contract with POSH Projects, ABL’s operations in Singapore will provide a tow master to act as client representative throughout the FPSO’s 12,108 nautical mile towage and supervise all marine operations in the leadup and sail away from Yantai CIMC Raffles Shipyard to ensure they are carried out in line with approved recommendations and procedural documentation.  

Phong Chong Hui, ABL’s Country Manager in Singapore, commented: The towage of a 270-metre long FPSO with a gross tonnage of 150 thousand is a complex procedure. ABL’s vast marine experience across all types of marine operations globally in combination with our in-house multi-disciplinary engineering competence, makes us the right partner for such a project.”

Upon arrival in Brazil, the FPSO Marechal Duque de Caxias will be installed at the Mero field, 180 kilometers off the coast of Rio de Janeiro in the deepwater Santos Basin. This vessel is part of the field’s third development phase or Mero-3. The sail-away from China is planned for the end of February 2024, subject to necessary weather permits.

Simon Healy, ABL’s Regional Managing Director for the Asia Pacific region, explained: “Our client representative offering helps ensure that safety and quality standards are adhered to throughout the most complex procedures, mitigating unforeseen risk and cost impacting the bottom line of a project.”

According to MISC Group, the FPSO Marechal Duque de Caxias, which was named in Yantai on January 17, 2024, is a HISEP-ready vessel that comes with the integration of advanced technologies for processing CO2-rich production from the pre-salt Santos basin.

Naming ceremony for FPSO Marechal Duque de Caxias; Source: MISC Group

Built with a high production capacity of 180,000 bbls per day and 12 million m3 of gas per day, the FPSO is equipped with water alternating gas (WAG) reinjection technology, which exemplifies MISC’s strategy in carbon capture. Additionally, it can strip and reinject CO2 from fuel gas production, with a capacity to compress up to 48 mmscfd of CO2.

The Mero field, which is the third largest one in Brazil after Tupi and Búzios, 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 SA – PPSA (3.5%). This large pre-salt field is home to three FPSOs: Pioneiro de Libra, Guanabara, and Sepetiba. The last one was recently put into production mode.

The remaining 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. Petrobras revealed plans in 2023 to put 11 additional FPSO units into operation in the pre-salt layer offshore Brazil by 2027, enabling it to boost production to 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 while $11.5 billion is earmarked for projects that will enable a reduction in carbon footprint.

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