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Petrobras to test Libra Pre-Salt field offshore Brazil with first FPSO

Petrobras Shell and Total qualify Libra FPSO bidders

The national oil company (NOC) Petroleo Brasileiro SA (Petrobras) and its partners, the majors Royal Dutch Shell (Shell), from The Netherlands, Total from France, and the Chinese champions China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC or PetroChina) and China National Oil Offshore Corporation (CNOOC) are qualifying the engineering companies and shipyards to be invited to bid (ITB) for the first floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) to be moored on the super giant offshore pre-salt oil and gas field Libra within the Santos Basin of Brazil.

Discovered in May 2010, the first exploratory well hit successfully the oil and gas reservoir in December 2010 after several attempts to come across the subsea salt layers.

Petrobras-Shell-Total-CNPC-CNOOC_Libra-FPSO_MapLocated approximately 230 kilometers offshore Rio de Janeiro, at the north of the Tupi field, Libra belongs to the Block BM-S-11.

Classified as a ultra deep water pre-salt field, Libra covers a surface of 800 kilometers long by 200 kilometers wide by 2,000 meters of water depth and 7,000 meters total depth.

Larger than the well-known Tupi field further south in the Santos Basin, Libra appears as the most important discovery since 1976 with the famous Cantarell field in the Gulf of Mexico.

From the first estimations, Libra is announced to hold between 8 billion and 12 billion barrels of recoverable reserves.

At that scale, Libra alone can double Brazil oil and gas declared reserves and may require up to $50 billion capital expenditure for its full field development.

In addition Libra crude oil has been ranked among the best quality light crude oil by Petrobras and its partners Shell, Total, CNPC and CNOOC.

Petrobras to deploy first Libra FPSO on fast-track

Because of it reservoir size and complexity, Libra has become a sensitive political topic in Brazil leading the Agencia Nacional do Petroleo (ANP) to proceed carefully to sanction the corresponding production sharing agreement (PSA) to a joint venture combining Petrobras with foreign companies.

Petrobras-Shell-Total-CNPC-CNOOC_Libra-FPSOTherefore in Libra the working interests are shared as following:

 – Petrobras 40% is the sole operator

 – Shell 20%

 – Total 20%

 – PetroChina 10%

 – CNOOC 10%

The sanction of Libra Production Sharing Agreement to this joint venture comes in a context where Brazil is struggling to ramp up its oil and gas production, thus to finance its economical development.

Therefore Brazil Government applauded this team to combine all the technical expertise and financial capabilities to complete Libra exploration while starting first production on short term. 

 In this specific context, Petrobras and its partners have decided to move ahead without delay with a first FPSO to carry out extended well tests (EWT) in different areas of Libra oil and gas field.

Even if this FPSO should be used for tests purpose, it should have capacities of:

 – 50,000 barrels per day (b/d) of crude oil

 – 140 million cubic feet per day (cf/d) of natural gas

This Libra FPSO should be chartered for a first period of eight years for which Petrobras and its partners qualified four international companies to be invited to bid:

To submit an offer these FPSO operating companies will have to team up with a local engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) company having  a shipyard with the capacities available for this Libra FPSO such as:

Petrobras-Shell-Total-CNPC-CNOOC_Libra-FPSO_Map – Camargo Correa

 – Mendes Junior

 – Odebrecht

 – Quieroz Galvao Oil and Gas (QGOG)

 – Schahin Petroleo

 – UTC Overseas Brazil

Despite the strict local content regulation enforced by Brazil, the Government has given the clearance  to the bidders to propose oversea integration of Libra FPSO if local shipyards cannot meet the tight schedule proposed in the ITB.

In order to proceed fast-track Petrobras and its partners Shell, Total, PetroChina (CNPC) and CNOOC will accept a converted vessel so that Libra FPSO could start the extended well tests in 2016.

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