Petrobras to sign ship contract this month

Brazil's state-run oil company, Petroleo Brasileiro, will sign a contract to build and lease a floating production ship for its Libra offshore project this month, company Chief Executive Maria das Gracas Foster said on 18 September, as reported by Reuters.

The contract will be the first for a floating production, storage and offloading vessel (FPSO) to be used in the giant Libra prospect northeast of Rio de Janeiro that Petrobras won in an auction with Anglo-Dutch, French and Chinese partners late last year.

According to Reuters, Libra will be the first area developed under new production sharing rules and will direct about 42% of its output to the Brazilian government for it to sell on its own account.

Reuters says that Foster, who spoke at the close of the Rio Oil & Gas Conference, said Petrobras had reduced the time required to construct its FPSOs in Brazil to an average of 42 weeks from 60 weeks in 2005. The world average, she said, was 39 weeks.

Petrobras began drilling on the first exploration well on the Libra pre-salt area in the Santos basin in August. Libra spans approximately 1548sq km and drilling is estimated to contain 8 to 12 billion boe.

The NS-36 Schahin Cerrado drillship (pictured) is being used to drill Petrobras’ exploration well on Libra, 3-RJS-731. 3-RJS-731 is the first of two wells planned for the first phase of Petrobras' Minimum Exploration Program, agreed with Brazil’s National Oil, Natural Gas and Biofuels Agency. The first well is expected to reach 5850m and is located approximately 170km off the coast of Rio de Janeiro state.

In June, Anelise Lara, Petrobras’ executive manager for Libra, explained that Libra covers a total area of approximately 1500sq km, almost the same size as the entire metropolitan region of Houston. The reservoir has similar characteristics to the other pre-salt fields already discovered.

Petrobras operates Libra with a 40% interest with partners Shell (20%), Total (20%), CNPC (10%) and CNOOC (10%).

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