Petrobras Advances in the Development of the Buzios Field

Source: 7/24/2020, Location: South America

Petrobras' executive board approved the start of contracting processes for three new FPSO-type platforms for the Buzios field, in the Santos Basin pre-salt. FPSO is the acronym in English for the unit that produces, stores and transfers oil and gas.

The three new units will be the first to be contracted after the acquisition of excess volumes from the onerous assignment of the Buzios field in November 2019, in partnership with Chinese companies CNOOC Petroleum Brasil Ltda. (CNOOC) and CNODC Brasil Petróleo e Gas Ltda. (CNODC). The acquisition of these additional volumes, for which Petrobras paid R $ 61.4 billion as a subscription bonus, is the result of the active portfolio management carried out by the company. The sale of assets that bring lower financial returns and that are not part of the company's main business provides resources for investments in more promising and higher-return projects, as is the case in the Buzios field.

The new platforms are part of the asset's Development Plan, which foresees a total of 12 units installed by the end of the decade. At the end of the development phase, the Búzios field is expected to produce more than 2 million barrels of oil equivalent per day (boed), becoming Petrobras' largest asset, with the highest production.

There are currently four units in operation in Buzios, which account for more than 20% of Petrobras' total production and more than 30% of production in the pre-salt fields. On July 13, these platforms reached the production records of the field, of 674 thousand barrels of oil per day (bpd) and 844 thousand barrels of oil equivalent per day (boed).

A fifth platform, with a production capacity of 150 thousand bpd of oil, is under construction. Named FPSO Almirante Barroso, production is scheduled to start in the second half of 2022.

New units

The first of the three new units to start operations will be the FPSO Almirante Tamandaré, the sixth production system in the field, with production scheduled for the second half of 2024. The FPSO will be chartered and will have a daily processing capacity of 225 thousand barrels of oil and 12 million m3 of gas. It will be the largest oil production unit operating on the Brazilian coast and one of the largest in the world.

The other two units will be contracted in EPC mode (acronym in English for contracting engineering, supply and construction) and will have the capacity to process 180 thousand barrels of oil and 7.2 million m3 of gas each day. These platforms are expected to start operating in 2025. Named P-78 and P-79, these units are the result of Petrobras' strategy to develop new projects for its own platforms, incorporating the lessons learned from the FPSOs already installed in the pre-salt layer. , including aspects of contracting and construction.

Called the Reference Project, the studies carried out by the company consolidated this learning in an FPSO project for future contracts, which incorporates additional standardization of specifications and improvements in the model of approach to the market, such as the reduction of interfaces, with the hiring of a single supplier. in EPC mode, responsible for all stages of the project; pre-qualification of suppliers; alignment of interests in the contract and better detail of the basic project.

There are also technological incorporations in areas such as reservoirs, wells and the submarine system, with a focus on increasing the recovery factor, higher flows, reducing costs, safety and efficiency.

In addition to the platforms, Petrobras will also go to the market to hire wet Christmas trees (ANMs) - which are necessary underwater equipment to control the flow of fluids produced or injected into the wells -, probes, well services and the submarine collection and export system.

The expectation is that the hiring of FPSOs and ANMs will be completed and the contracts signed in 2021. The remaining contracts will be carried out in the next 18 months.

All hires will meet the levels of local content required for the Buzios field.

Giant field

Buzios, the largest deepwater oil field in the world, is a world-class asset, with excellent quality oil, substantial reserves, low risk and low extraction cost. It is located 180 km from the Brazilian coast and more than 5,000 meters deep. It has an area of ??850 km², with reservoir thicknesses of up to 480 meters and excellent quality of the reservoir rock. The more than 45 wells drilled to date confirm the excellent quality of the reservoir.

The reservoir's permeability and porosity characteristics, associated with large oil column thicknesses, allow each Búzios well to produce, on average, more than 50 thousand barrels of oil per day. Currently, the field has the six wells with the highest oil production in the country. The high productivity of the field justifies the installation of larger FPSOs.

The development of Buzios is in line with Petrobras' strategic positioning, which focuses on world-class E&P assets, especially in the pre-salt, in which the company has a competitive advantage, with technical knowledge and experience, and obtains more return on investments. Búzios is Petrobras' best and most promising asset.

The set of innovations developed by Petrobras to enable the production of Búzios led the company to win for the fourth time the main prize of the oil and gas industry, the Distinguished Achievement Award for Companies, granted by the Offshore Technology Conference (OTC), in February of 2020.

In March 2020, Petrobras signed the production sharing contract, with CNOOC and CNODC as partners, and Pré-Sal Petróleo SA (PPSA) as manager. The parties have been discussing the global development strategy of the field and the other issues related to the co-participation agreement, which is expected to start in 2021 and which will regulate the coexistence of the transfer of rights and production sharing contracts.

Petrobras was the Western oil and natural gas company that invested the most in 2019, having invested US $ 27 billion in its projects. More than half of this amount was allocated to the acquisition of exploration and production rights in the Buzios field.

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