Chinese yard Dalian Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (DSIC) has cut first steel on a floating production, storage and offloading vessel destined for Norwegian oil giant Equinor's Bacalhau pre-salt development off Brazil.

The steel cut on Tuesday will see the floater completed in about 28 months.

It took place at a time when state-controlled Equinor is closing in on sanction of the project.

“We are planning for sanctioning (of the project) early next year and start producing oil in 2024,” Trond Stokka Meling, vice president of Equinor, told delegates attending 2020 Norway China FPSO seminar held by Norwegian Energy Partners and Innovation Norway in Shanghai late last month.

Floater specs

DSIC will be responsible for the hull and living quarters engineering and construction as well as marine system commissioning and part of the topside modules.

The double-hull floater will be built to Japanese contractor Modec’s M350 design, with a hull around 364 metres long, 64 metres wide and 33 metres deep, and with storage capacity of around 2 million barrels of crude.

Once built, it will be on of the largest such vessel to enter operations in Brazil, featuring topsides able to handle 220,000 barrels per day of oil and 15 million cubic metres per day of natural gas.

The Bacalhau FPSO will be installed on Block BM-S-8 on the location where former operator Petrobras made the Carcara discovery in March 2012.

Sub-contracts

As engineering, procurement and construction contractor, Modec has signed contracts with Chinese yard Bomesc Offshore Engineering and Norway’s Aibel for modules fabrication.

Bomesc will build the modules for power generation, low-pressure separation and public utility of the FPSO, while Aibel will complete the rest at its facilities in Thailand.

The engineering work of the topsides modules will be conducted by Indian engineering house Sidivin, while the engineering of the mooring system will be carried out by Sofec.

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Once completed, the hull and modules will be shipped to Singapore for integration at Keppel Shipyard.

Modec and Aibel earlier completed the front-end engineering and design and detailed engineering for the floater.

Modec is already in an agreement with Aibel for the detailed design, procurement and construction of the compression, high-pressure separation and riser porch modules.