Petrobras will be the first company to operate an FPSO in the American portion of the Gulf of Mexico, in the Cascade and Chinook fields. In the event of poor weather conditions, the vessel platform can be detached from the wells, sail to safer waters, and then make its way back whenever the situation has returned to normal.
The vessel was christened Monday, October 26, in Singapore at the Keppel Verolme shipyard. The ceremony was attended by international area director, Jorge Luiz Zelada; by the executive manager for the Americas, Africa and Eurasia, Fernando Cunha; and by Petrobras America's general manager, Orlando Azevedo.
The FPSO is slated to set sail from Singapore in December 2009 and to arrive in the Gulf of Mexico in early 2010. The use of this type of vessel, which is equipped with a disconnectable mooring system, translates into safety for the onboard staff, in equipment preservation, and in fewer operation shutdowns.
Built based on the hull of a different vessel, the FPSO is 241 meters long, 42 meters wide, and 20.4 meters tall. The vessel is capable of processing nearly 80,000 barrels of oil and 500,000 cubic meters of gas per day and can store nearly 500,000 barrels of oil.
The vessel started its conversion into an FPSO at the Cosco Shipyard, in Nantong, China, in March 2008. That same year in July, the vessel sailed to the Keppel Shipyard, in Singapore, and is expected to be completed in December.
With the development of the Cascade and Chinook fields, Petrobras will change the way operations are done in Gulf of Mexico waters, where technologies used successfully in Brazil are being applied. In addition to the FPSO, oil transportation by means of shuttle tankers and the use self-sustainable submerged pumps and risers (submarine outflow lines) are among the innovations the Company is introducing in the region.In the first phase of the project, the objective of which is to analyze reservoir performance, two wells in the Cascade field, and one well in the Chinook field will be interconnected to the vessel. In the second, seven more wells from the Chinook field and another seven wells from the Chinook field may be added on. Production is scheduled to go on stream at the two fields in mid-2010.
Petrobras is the operator of the Cascade and Chinook wells, with 50% and 66.7% stakes, respectively. Devon Energy Corporation is a partner in Cascade, while TOTAL E&P USA, INC., a Total SA subsidiary, holds 33.33% of the stakes in Chinook.
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