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Brazil's Petrobras signs deal with Saipem, DSME for eighth Buzios FPSO

Highlights

Plans to install up to 12 FPSOs

Buzios could pump 2 million b/d at peak

Rio de Janeiro — Petrobras continues to advance development of the massive Buzios field in Brazil's offshore subsalt frontier, finalizing plans to build the field's eighth floating production unit as it targets output of 2 million b/d by the end of the decade.

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Petrobras said June 11 it had agreed a $2.3 billion deal with a joint venture formed by Italian oil field services company Saipem and South Korea's Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering, or DSME, to build the FPSO P-79, which will have installed capacity to pump 180,000 b/d of oil and process 7.2 million cu m/d of gas.

Delivery of the vessel is expected in 2025, Petrobras said. The FPSO P-79 will be connected to eight production wells and six injection wells once installed.

The deal is the latest in a series of tenders launched to accelerate development of Buzios, which is widely considered the biggest and best geological structure in Brazil's subsalt region. The field was the country's second-leading oil and natural gas producer in April behind the Tupi field, according to Brazil's National Petroleum Agency, or ANP. More importantly, the field is home to nine of the country's top 10 production wells, reflecting its high productivity.

Petrobras previously signed a deal to build the FPSO P-78 with Keppel Shipyard on May 10. The vessel, which should be delivered in 2024 and pump first oil in 2025, will also have installed capacity to produce 180,000 b/d and process up to 7.2 million cu m/d.

The company also remains in the market with a tender to build the FPSO P-80, which will be larger and produce 225,000 b/d of oil.

The high productivity at Buzios, where a single well pumped a record 69,600 b/d of oil equivalent in September 2020, will allow Petrobras to install larger production units at the field going forward.

Each of the four vessels currently installed has capacity to pump 150,000 b/d of oil and process 6 million cu m/d of gas. But high flow rates and onboard efficiency improvements allowed output at Buzios to top 600,000 b/d for several months in 2020. Buzios pumped 580,414 b/d of oil and 22.9 million cu m/d of gas in April, according to the latest data available from the ANP.

Petrobras is currently studying a plan that would install up to 12 FPSOs at Buzios, executives said May 14, potentially taking output to 2 million b/d.

The fifth and sixth Buzios FPSOs are already under construction. The FPSO Almirante Barroso, which has installed capacity to pump 150,000 b/d, is expected to pump first oil in 2022.

The FPSO Almirante Tamandare, which is expected to pump first oil in 2024, will have installed capacity to produce 225,000 b/d. The projects were only slightly affected by the coronavirus pandemic and remain on schedule for first oil, according to Petrobras.

Three additional FPSOs at Buzios, which would bring the total number of production facilities at Buzios to 12, could be constructed under an option included in the FPSO P-80 tender. The clause would allow the company to expand the order to include two additional FPSOs and speed up development.