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Petrobras to expand fleet of chartered pipelay support vessels

Petrobras expects first series of vessels in 2014 – 2015

On end of last year Petróleo Brasileiro S.A. (Petrobras) signed contracts for chartering six pipelay support vessels (PLSVs) for the development of the pre-salt oil and gas fields in the Santos Basin, offshore Brazil.

Representing a total of $2.9 billion chartering contracts, these new-build pipelay vessels were awarded to:

 – Seabras and SapuraCrest (Seadrill) with three units to be delivered in 2014 and 2015

 – Technip and Odebrecht with two units to be delivered in 2014 and 2015

 – Subsea 7 with one unit to be delivered in 2014

Except one unit made by Seabras with 300 ton capacity and capabilities to work at 2,000 meters depth, the other five pipelay support vessels have the same tonnage capacity of 550 ton with the capabilities to reach 2,500 meters depth.

These pipelay vessels will be the largest ever used by Petrobras but requested by the long distance, about 300 kilometers, between the Santos Basin and the Brazilian shore.

Seabras and SapuraCrest are proceeding with the construction of the smaller unit at the local OSX shipyard in the State of Rio de Janeiro, but Petrobras had to be more flexible on the local content with the larger units to respect production schedule.

SapuraCrest is based in Malaysia with 23.6% stake belonging to Seadrill.

Since the signature of the contract, SapuraCrest merged with another Malaysian company called Kencana Petroleum to become Sapura-Kencana in order to reach the minimum size to challenge the big players.

Technip and Odebrecht subcontracted the construction of their pipelay vessels to Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (DSME) in South Korea.

Petrobras to charter new series of 9 pipelay vessels

With the global demand pushing hard for drilling rigs and pipelay support vessels, Petrobras is keeping up its chartering program for the largest units.

According to Morgan Stanley’s study, the backlog of floating production units and offshore platforms has never been so high than in 2012, about 30% higher than in 2010.

Most of these FPSOs and platforms are supposed to come on stream in 2014 and 2015 calling of a peak demand of supporting vessels at that period.

Regarding the pipelay vessels, Morgan Stanley estimates the demand to increase by 10% in 2014 and 2015 from actual 88 vessels in 2012.

This peak appears already in the lease prices of the chartering contracts.

In addition Petrobras is looking for large capacities vessels even more exposed to market tensions.

In this context Petrobras invited charter companies to submit offers for new-build series of nine pipelay support vessels divided in three packages:

 – First package should have a capacity of 550 ton with capabilities to reach 3,000 meter depth

 – Second package should provide tension power of 650 ton by 3,000 meters depth

 – Third package would include the smaller units of 300 ton by 2,000 meters depth

Petrobras accepts the first and second package to be executed outside of Brazil while the third package of the smaller units will have to meet all the requirements in term of local content.

The first units of large pipelay vessels should be available in 42 months meaning first deliveries are planned in 2017 with following units every six months.

The joint venture Seabras and Sapura-Kencana submitted offers for five units.

The Technip and DOF Subsea team is quoting large and small vessels based on STX OSV shipyard in Rio de Janeiro State.

Subsea 7 is also in the race, mainly on the large units.

Petrobras is actually revising the technical offers before entering commercial discussions with Seadrill, Technip and Subsea 7 as the charter contracts for these new-build pipelay support vessels should be signed for a period of five or eight years.

For more information and data about oil and gas and petrochemical projects go to Project Smart Explorer

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