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Petrobras tenders for fifth floater for Buzios

Brazilian giant due to receive commercial proposals from several FPSO specialists in September

Brazilian oil giant Petrobras has hit the market with a fresh tender to charter a large floating production, storage and offloading vessel destined for the Buzios field in the prolific Santos basin pre-salt asset cluster.

Petrobras is due to receive commercial proposals on 15 September for an FPSO with capacity to produce 180,000 barrels per day of oil and 6 million cubic metres per day of natural gas.

Upstream understands that Petrobras invited floater specialists including Modec International, SBM Offshore, BW Offshore, Bluewater, Teekay Offshore and Bumi Armada to participate in the tender.

Petrobras is offering a 21-year charter for the FPSO, the fifth to be deployed in the Buzios field, located within a transfer of rights area where the state-controlled oil company holds a 100% stake.

The Buzios V opportunity takes place as Petrobras is wrapping up tenders for the charter of FPSOs for the Libra and Sepia pre-salt fields.

Modec, SBM and BW are said to have submitted commercial proposals for Libra last month, while Modec is seen as the frontrunner to snatch the Sepia contract after proposing a dayrate of about $720,000 for the unit.

Sources told Upstream that local content requirements for the new Buzios FPSO will be similar to the revamped terms laid out by Petrobras for the Libra and Sepia tenders.

“Local content for Buzios V is a bit lower than the Libra pilot, but slightly higher than the Sepia FPSO,” said one project watcher.

The current Petrobras five-year business plan states that first oil flows from the Buzios V, Sepia and Libra pilot FPSOs are expected in 2020.

However, sources have suggested that since Petrobras is giving contractors a 36-month window from signing of the charter agreement to delivery of the unit, implying there is a good chance that Buzios V may only enter operations in 2021.

Petrobras, headed by chief executive Pedro Parente, has another floater tentatively scheduled to begin production in 2020 – the first of two forthcoming units designed to revitalise production at the ageing Marlim field in the Campos basin.

“Petrobras has so far only indicated it will launch the Marlim FPSO tender either later this year or early next year. We just don’t know yet,” said a source.

Commercial output from Buzios is due to begin in 2018 with the P-74, P-75 and P-76 FPSOs. A fourth unit — P-77 — is meant to start up in 2019.

All four FPSOs were ordered years ago by Petrobras at Brazilian shipyards. Construction of the hulls ran well behind schedule at the Inhauma dry dock facility in Rio de Janeiro state and part of the work was transferred to China.

EBR is presently performing integration of the P-74 at its shipyard in Sao Jose do Norte, in southern Rio Grande do Sul state.

A consortium formed by TechnipFMC and Techint is in charge of integration work on the P-76 at the Pontal do Parana shipyard.

The QGI consortium will carry out integration of the P-75 and P-77 later on at the Honorio Bicalho shipyard, but the bulk of the work currently is being done in China by Cosco Shipyard, which is responsible for the fabrication of most topsides modules.

Another source said that while the Buzios V FPSO shares many characteristics of the Sepia floater, it will also feature topsides modules for hydrogen sulphide removal as do the P-75 and P-77.