Petrobras Starts Testing Peroa Platform Despite Pipeline Delays

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Brazil's federal energy company Petrobras (NYSE: PBR) has started tests on its fixed platform in the offshore Peroa natural gas field in the Espirito Santo basin as it waits for the conclusion of a 128km gas pipeline to allow commercial production, a company spokesperson told BNamericas.

The platform has capacity to produce 5 million cubic meters a day (Mm3/d) of gas.

Petrobras CEO Jose Gabrielli officially inaugurated on Monday four gas and oil production, processing and transport projects in the state of Espirito Santo, where the Espirito Santo basin is located, including the Peroa fixed platform.

Investment so far in the four projects is 690mn reais (US$316mn), the company said in a statement. The other projects are the Cacimbas natural gas treatment unit, the Fazenda Alegre heavy crude transport unit and the Norte Capixaba sea terminal.

Peroa is a shallow-water field linked to the Cacimbas gas treatment unit through an underwater pipeline. The unit will process the gas before it is transported south to the city of Vitoria, where there is demand for the gas in local industries.

Investment in the first stage of the Peroa field development was 270mn reais, the statement said.

Commercial production at Peroa requires the conclusion of the Cacimbas-Vitória pipeline so in the meantime the treatment unit will process 1.3Mm3/d produced in onshore fields in the Linhares region near Cacimbas, which will then be carried through an existing smaller pipeline to Vitoria.

The new pipeline will have capacity to carry 20Mm3/d and is part of the strategic Gasene project aiming to link gas networks in the southeastern and northeastern regions.

However, construction of the Vitoria-Cacimbas stretch has stopped because Spanish companies Masa and Dragados abandoned the project late last year, claiming financial difficulties. Petrobras has said it has started a new tender to hire other companies to conclude the project.

The construction is still scheduled to be finished by the end of June this year, the spokesperson said.

"Production in Peroa can start at any time after the conclusion of tests but this means reducing output from onshore fields," the spokesperson added.


Petrobras is planning to build another gas treatment unit in Cacimbas that will treat gas from the offshore light crude and natural gas Golfinho field that is currently under development.

"In 2010, Espirito Santo [state] will produce 10Mm3/d," said the spokesperson, referring to Golfinho, Peroa and its sister field Cangoa, and onshore production. Current natural gas output is 1.3Mm3/d from the onshore fields.

Petrobras also has heavy crude production in the state. Company officials inaugurated the onshore Fazenda Alegre oil transport center on Tuesday that will allow heavy crude transport to the Norte Capixaba sea terminal. The heavy crude would be loaded on tankers and taken to the Lubnor lubricant refinery in the country's northeastern region for processing.

Investments in the Fazenda Alegre and the sea terminal were 270mn reais and 150mn reais, respectively, the statement said.

In addition Petrobras has signed an agreement with mining company Samarco to use its Ubu port terminal in Espirito Santo state to service platforms and support vessels in the Espirito Santo basin.

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