Petrobras to send invitations to bid on Carioca FPSO
Petrobras and its partners, BG Group (BG) and Repsol–Sinopec Brazil, are preparing the invitation to bid (ITB) to be sent to the charter companies for the lease of a floating, production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel at Carioca in the Santos Basin.
Originally the Carioca FPSO was due to be one of the eight replicate FPSOs currently under construction at Estaleiro Rio Grande shipyard owned by the Brazilian engineering company Engevix’s offshore branch Ecovix.
In Carioca, Petrobras and its partners, share the working interests such as:
– Petrobras 45% is the operator
– BG 30%
In this joint venture, Repsol–Sinopec Brazil results from an alliance signed in October 2010 where both companies Repsol from Spain and Sinopec from China agreed to cooperate in exploration and production projects offshore Brazil.
Carioca was discovered in 2007 in the BM-S-9 concession, 273 kilometers south Rio de Janeiro and 275 kilometers east of San Paulo, by 2,140 meters of water depth.
The first exploratory wells appeared immediately prolific as the flow rates were exceeding the capacity of the testing equipment.
The following appraisal wells performed in 2011 and 2012, especially the Carioca Norte, confirmed the significant presence of light crude oil and raw natural gas making Carioca one of the largest discovery in the pre-salt area.
Lying by 5,576 meters of total depth, the appraisal campaign unveiled also a significant percentage of carbon dioxide with some uncertainty still about the exact amount of this carbon dioxide.
Then, and in similar way to the other pre-salt crude oil fields, Carioca contains raw natural gas in such quantity that it cannot be flared.
Petrobras to re-inject gas and carbon dioxide in Carioca
In a second phase, when the natural gas will have run out, Petrobras is planning to import this natural gas from another FPSO such a Sapinhoa, the closest field, or Lula that should have the higher capacity for export, in order to continue to power the Carioca FPSO and to inject the left part of the gas.
In this context where there is still some uncertainty about the optimized process to operate Carioca because of the carbon dioxide content rate and because of the required flexibility to handle the associated gas, Petrobras and its partners have preferred to begin operations in Carioca with a leased FPSO instead of the original wholly owned vessel.
For the same reasons, this Carioca FPSO should have a smaller size as it should be designed to produce:
– 100,000 barrels per day (b/d) of crude oil
– 5 million cubic meters per day (cm/d) of natural gas
By comparison, the eight replicate FPSOs would have a capacity of 150,000 b/d of crude oil.
Among the bidders, Petrobras and its partners qualified:
– Camargo Correa
– Queiroz Galvao
– Teekay Offshore
In order to avoid any further slippage in the projects execution, Petrobras is encouraging the Brazilian shipyards to team up with the foreign engineering companies.
These alliances should reduce the number of bidders.
Despite all the pending questions about the exact nature of the reservoir, Petrobras and its partners, BG and Repsol–Sinopec Brazil are targeting the final investment decision (FID) at the end of 2013 for commercial operations to start in second half 2016.