Petroleo Brasileiro S.A. (Petrobras) announced Thursday that well 9-SPS-77, in Sapinhoa Field, in the Santos Basin pre-salt offshore Brazil in Block BM-S-9, went on stream last Tuesday, Feb. 18 at 5:15 pm. This well, which produces 33,000 barrels per day (bpd), is interconnected to FPSO Cidade de Sao Paulo through a pioneering system. In this system, the ascending section of the production pipelines is supported by a submerged buoy, anchored in the seabed and floating at a depth of 787 feet (240 meters). The well is located at a water depth of 6,948 feet (2,118 meters).
In this position, the buoy, known as Buoyancy Supported Risers – BSR, is immune to the movements of the platform. This innovative concept enables the use, in some parts of the project, of rigid steel pipes (Steel Catenary Risers – SCRs) at ultra deepwaters.
The buoy, which measures 131 x 170 feet (40 x 52 meters) and weighs 1,936 tons, is attached to the seabed by means of eight steel tendons of 5,997 feet (1,828 meters) each, connected to four stakes fixed in the seabed.
The company Subsea 7 built and installed the system. The installation of this buoy, which is capable of accommodating a total of three production wells and two injection wells, began in July 2013, and faced many challenges associated with meteorological conditions during winter and the innovativeness of the project.
After buoy installation was completed Dec. 25, 2013, rigid steel pipelines were installed by Jan. 22, to interconnect the first two wells. The connection of well SPS-77 to the FPSO was completed Feb. 17, after the installation of the flexible pipelines and the opening of the well for production occurred Feb. 18.
The next production well is expected to be interconnected to FPSO Cidade de Sao Paulo by the end of the first quarter.
Three New Buoys to Come
This buoy is the first in a series of four to be installed in the Santos Basin pre-salt fields, two of which are for Sapinhoa Field (Sapinhoa Pilot Project - FPSO Cidade de Sao Paulo) and two for Lula Field (Lula Nordeste Pilot Project - FPSO Cidade de Paraty).
FPSO Cidade de Sao Paulo, whose processing capacity is 120,000 barrels of oil per day, has been in operation since Jan. 5, 2013, with the start-up of well SPS-55 directly interconnected to the FPSO.
FPSO Cidade de Paraty, whose processing capacity is 120,000 barrels of oil per day, went into operation June 6, 2013, with the production of well LL-11, also directly interconnected to the FPSO.
The second buoy, destined for Lula Field, was installed Feb. 7 and required less than one-third of the time spent in the first buoy, thanks to improvements introduced in the installation process. At this time, rigid steel pipelines are being connected to this buoy. Production is expected to start in the second quarter of 2014.
The third buoy, destined for Sapinhoa Field, has been at its permanent location since Feb. 10, where connection to the foundations by means of steel tendons has already begun. Its installation will be concluded this quarter.
The fourth and last buoy, destined for Lula Field, is in sheltered waters in Sao Sebastiao, ready to navigate to its final location. It is expected to leave in March 2014. Its installation will be concluded in the second quarter of 2014.
With the installation of the buoys and interconnection of the other wells, production through FPSOs Cidade de Sao Paulo and Cidade de Paraty will continue to rise gradually until peak production is reached, what is expected to happen this year.
Sapinhoa Field is operated by Petrobras (45 percent) in partnership with BG E&P Brasil Ltda (30 percent) and Repsol Sinopec Brasil S.A. (25 percent).
Lula Field is operated by Petrobras (65 percent) in partnership with BG E&P Brasil Ltda (25 percent) and Petrogal Brasil S.A. (10 percent).
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