Brazilian state-controlled oil giant Petrobras has postponed by a month the deadline for contractors to submit offers in a tender for the charter of two large floating production, storage and offloading vessels to serve the giant Buzios pre-salt field.

Industry sources told Upstream that Petrobras agreed to give floater specialists extra time to prepare commercial bids for the P-78 and P-79 FPSOs, pushing back the date from 18 December to 18 January.

Upstream reported a month ago that three consortia are forming to participate in the tender.

The first is made up of local player EBR, Japan’s Toyo Engineering and South Korea’s Samsung Heavy Industries.

The second group features Singapore’s Keppel Offshore & Marine, Brazil’s BrasFels and South Korea’s Hyundai Heavy Industries, while the third pairing is between Italy’s Saipem and Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering.

Petrobras is tendering the P-78 and P-79 under a turnkey concept, where the operator will supply basic engineering and will also finance construction of the units.

The FPSOs will be based on Petrobras’ own reference design featuring topsides modules capable of processing 180,000 barrels per day of oil and 7.2 million cubic metres per day of natural gas.

Production from both units is earmarked for 2025.

SIGN UP FOR OUR NEW ENERGY TRANSITION NEWSLETTER

Gain valuable insight into the global oil and gas industry's energy transition from Accelerate, the new weekly newsletter from Upstream and Recharge.
Sign up here.

“Buzios is the most important field for Petrobras now, with high productivity rates per well,” Petrobras executive manager for construction services Joao Henrique Rittershaussen said on Upstream’s Brazil digital event on 24 November.

Buzios is currently producing close to 600,000 bpd from four floaters — P-74, P-75, P-76 and P-77. A fifth unit, the Almirante Barroso FPSO, is to be supplied by Japan’s Modec and is due to enter operation in 2022.

Petrobras is also in direct negotiations with Netherlands-based player SBM Offshore for the charter of the Almirante Tamandare FPSO for Buzios.

Rittershaussen also said he expects to have “good news” next year regarding the Buzios-9 FPSO project, suggesting the tender for the contracting of the unit will be launched at some point in 2021.

France’s Doris Engineering has been hired to assist Petrobras on conducting its own front-end engineering and design study for the Buzios-9 floater, which might also serve as the basis for the contracting of the Buzios-10, Buzios-11 and Buzios-12 FPSOs.

The engineering concept being developed by Petrobras can be used in the future for units to be deployed at Buzios with capacity for 180,000 bpd — like the P-78 and P-79 — or even larger floaters at 225,000 bpd, such as the Almirante Tamandare FPSO.

Asked if Petrobras will contract the last four Buzios floaters under a turnkey concept or the lease-and-operate format, Rittershaussen said: “We will make this decision on a case-by-case basis.”

“We need to analyse schedule, efficiency of the unit, costs and the risks of each opportunity. The idea is to evaluate the market at each case.”

Petrobras expects Buzios to be producing more than 2 million bpd by the end of 2030.