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Pre-salt prevails

Written by  Pietro Ferreira, Energy Industries Council Tuesday, 01 August 2017 00:00

Brazil is slowly emerging from one of its worst economic crises with the country’s oil and gas sector no exception, says the EIC’s Pietro Ferreira.

Peregrino A platform. Photo from Statoil/ Øyvind Hagen.

Brazil’s most important oil and gas player, Petrobras, plans to invest US$74.1 billion by 2021 under its revised investment plan. It is progressing with several of its pre-salt projects.

The much-delayed bidding process for the charter of a 180,000 b/d floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel for the Libra pre-salt field (pilot project) seems to be nearing its conclusion. BW Offshore, MODEC and SBM Offshore submitted bids to Petrobras in May and, at the time of writing, a technical evaluation was underway. Commercial proposals were due to be revealed in July, with an award expected in September or October. A tender process for the Libra 2 FPSO, the second permanent unit at the field, is planned to be launched this year, with a contract award in 2018.

Another major pre-salt project involving an FPSO is Sépia, where a 180,000b/d unit will be deployed. MODEC was revealed as the lowest bidder in May, having offered a day-rate of approximately $720,000. An award is expected to be announced soon.

Meanwhile, a tender process for an FPSO for the Búzios pre-salt field started during Q2 2017. Petrobras is understood to have invited major floater specialists to bid for the field’s fifth FPSO, which will have oil and gas processing capacities of 150,000 b/d and 6 MMcm/d, respectively. The bidding deadline is 15 September.

Petrobras is also looking for two smaller production units to replace existing semisubmersibles and FPSOs at the Marlim field in the Campos Basin. The company is seeking expressions of interest from potential bidders with tender documents for the 100,000b/d Marlim 1 FPSO expected to be released in late 2017.



In May, Heerema Fabrication Group (HFG) was awarded a contract by Norway’s Statoil to provide a 9300-tonne jacket for the WHP-C platform, which will be installed as part of the second development phase of the Peregrino heavy oil field. Kiewit will supply the platform’s deck (with Wood Group providing engineering and procurement services) while Cameron Sense will provide the unit’s drilling package.


Australian oil company Karoon is looking to install a 40,000 b/d production unit at the Echidna oil field, in the shallow waters of the Santos Basin. A tender for a six-year charter contract is expected to be launched in the coming months and it is understood that Karoon will welcome bids offering an FPSO or a semisubmersible unit connected to an FSO.

Market perspectives

The local oil and gas market is eagerly anticipating three bidding rounds for exploration and production blocks taking place in September and October. The first, scheduled for 27 September, will offer 287 exploration blocks in 11 basins across the country. The second and third bidding rounds, both scheduled for 27 October, will offer eight pre-salt blocks. Petrobras has already signaled its intention to bid for three such blocks and the local industry expects other IOCs to follow suit.

Pietro Ferreira works as a regional analyst at the Energy Industries Council (EIC) regional office in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He is a graduate in International Relations. His activities involve researching and analyzing project information on the South American energy market.

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