Brazilian Oil Multinational Petrobras Building 9 New Platforms in 4 Years

Brazilian Petrobras's platform The international financial crisis and the resulting postponing of the disclosure of the Petrobras Business Plan for the 2009/2013 period are not deterring Brazil's oil and gas multinational.

The state-controlled company will maintain the pace of investment in 2009, by hiring, building and launching production at 20 platforms in the coming years. Of that total, nine platforms should become operational between 2009 and 2013.

When operating at full capacity, the nine units combined will add over 790,000 barrels of oil per day and more than 35 million cubic meters of natural gas a day to the national output.

The first semi-submersible platform entirely built in the country will be the P-51, scheduled to start operating in the next few days. The platform's gas compression and power generation modules were built in the city of Niterói (in the state of Rio de Janeiro) and its hull was also manufactured in Brazil, making the P-51 the first 100% Brazilian platform.

Built at a total cost of approximately US$ 1 billion, the unit left the Bay of Ilha Grande in the end of the first half of December headed towards the field of Marlim Sul, in the Campos Basin, where it will remain anchored at a depth of 1,225 meters, 150 kilometers off the coast.

When operating at full capacity, the P-51 is going to produce up to 180,000 barrels of oil and 6,million cubic meters of gas per day - a peak production rate that should be reached in mid-2010. The platform, built at the Brasfels shipyard, in the city of Angra dos Reis (Rio de Janeiro), had a minimum of 70% of national components, generating more than 4,000 direct and 12,000 indirect jobs.

Scheduled to begin operating in late 2010, the P-56 (another of the units that will start functioning by 2013) will develop the Module 3 of the Marlim Sul field, also located in the north of the state of Rio de Janeiro. A replica of the P-51, the platform will be entirely built in Brazil, with a daily processing capacity of 100,000 barrels of oil and 6 million cubic meters of natural gas.

Alongside the P-52 and the P-51, the P-56 is going to comprise a new family of large-sized semi-submersible platforms. The project demands a minimum of 60% of national components. Its construction should generate approximately 4,800 direct jobs and another 20,000 indirect ones in the country.

It is also under construction at the Brasfels shipyard and at the Novo Rio Port, in Rio de Janeiro. The hull blocks are manufactured at the Nuclep, in the city of Itaguaí­.

Still in 2010, Petrobras is going to launch the PMXL-1 platform, the tallest fixed platform ever built in Brazil. It will be 227 meters tall and will be installed at the Field of Mexilhão, in the Santos Basin. Under construction at the Mauá shipyard, in Niterói, the PMXL-1 will have a production capacity of up to 15 million cubic meters of natural gas per day.

A platform is part of the Mexilhão Project, regarded by Petrobras as an important part of the Gas Production Anticipation Plan (Plangás). The Mexilhão Project also comprises a maritime gas pipeline with 145 kilometers of extension and the Monteiro Lobato Gas Treatment Unit (UTGCA) under construction in the city of Caraguatatuba (state of São Paulo).

Another unit to be put into operation by the Petrobras, the P-55, also of the semi-submersible type, is scheduled for inauguration in 2013, in the huge field of Roncador, also in the Campos Basin. According to the Petrobras, the unit will have a daily production capacity of 180,000 barrels of oil and compression capacity for 6 million cubic meters of gas. The construction of this unit should use at least 70% of national material and generate over 3,500 direct jobs in the municipality of Rio Grande alone (state of Rio Grande do Sul).

The Brazilian state-owned oil company also informed that the assembly of the platform should take place at the Naval Hub of Rio Grande and in Niterói. Construction of the hull has already begun at shipyard Atlântico Sul (state of Pernambuco) and will be concluded at the Naval Hub of Rio Grande.

However, prior to that, in 2012, Petrobras will place into operation at the field of Jubarte (in the portion of the Campos Basin located in the state of Espí­rito Santo) the P-57 platform. With a daily production capacity of 180,000 barrels of oil and 2 million cubic meters of gas, construction of the platform should generate 3,000 jobs in Brazil, with a minimum of 65% of national components.

The hull of the P-57 will be the result of the conversion of oil tanker Island Accord into a FPSO (Floating Production, Storage and Offloading) platform.

The conversion work began at shipyard Keppel, in Singapore, and the deadline for conclusion is December 2009. In the first week of February 2010, the hull should arrive at the Brasfels shipyard, in Angra dos Reis, where the modules (being manufactured in Brazil) will be installed and integrated to the platform.

In turn, the P-59 and P-60 platforms, to be constructed in the municipality of São Roque do Paraguaçu, in Maragogipe (state of Bahia), will be of the self-elevating drilling variety. According to the state-owned company, this model of platform, capable of drilling under conditions of high pressure and high temperature, had not been built in Brazil for approximately 30 years.

Minimum national content is 70%, and construction work is expected to generate around 2,500 direct jobs. Construction of the P-59 and P-60 should take 1,200 and 1,320 days, respectively. The work should begin in 2009 and continue until 2012.

According to Petrobras, platforms P-61 and P-63 will be located in the field of Papa-Terra, in the Campos Basin, approximately 111 kilometers off the coast of the municipality of Cabo Frio, in the state of Rio de Janeiro. Petrobras operates the field in partnership with the Chevron company.

The P-61 platform will be the first of the Tension Leg Wellhead Platform (TLWP) built in Brazil. Installed at a depth of 1,180 meters, the enterprise will be responsible for the drilling of 21 wells (18 producer wells and three reserve ones) and the pumping of production to the P-63, in which the oil will be processed. This model of platform was chosen due to the characteristic of the oil produced in the field of Papa-Terra, which is of the ultra-heavy variety (14.2° API).

The P-63 will be of the FPSO type. It should have daily processing capacity for producing 150,000 barrels and daily compressing capacity for 1 million cubic meters of gas. Besides the oil coming from the P-61, the platform is also going to process the production of three wells linked to the unit. Minimum national content will be 65% and the contract should be signed in the first half of 2009. Production should begin in the first quarter of 2013.

ABr

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