Chinese yard Cosco Shipping Heavy Industry has cut first steel on the topsides modules for the Buzios-5 floating production, storage and offloading vessel, which is destined for Petrobras' Buzios pre-salt field off Brazil.

First steel was cut on Monday and Cosco will finish the module fabrication work in the middle of next year, according to contracting sources.

The workscope covers 14 modules including pipe racks, lay-down modules and power generation modules carrying a total total steel weight of more than 5000 tonnes.

Also on Monday, fellow Chinese yard Bomesc Offshore Engineering announced that it had signed a contract with Modec to build other topsides modules for the Buzios-5 FPSO in a deal worth $77.6 million.

Both Cosco and Bomesc are acting as the sub-contractors of Japaese floater specialist Modec. When finished, the modules will be integrated with the hull of the FPSO, which is also under fabrication at Cosco's Dalian facility.

The Buzios-5 FPSO — which is known by Modec as MV-32 — will be equipped with facilities to process 180,000 barrels per day of oil and have 6 million cubic metres per day of natural gas-handling capacity.

The Buzios-5 FPSO — which is named the Almirante Barroso — will be chartered for 21 years starting in 2022 under a charter agreement that was signed between Modec and Petrobras in September last year.

The floater will be operated by Buzios5 MV32 BV, a Dutch company established last year by Modec Mitsui & Co, Mitsui OSK Lines and Marubeni.

The four companies have agreed to invest in a long-term charter business currently promoted by Modec for providing the FPSO for use on the Buzios field.