Petrobras Delays P-50 FPSO Startup Tests to mid-Feb

Brazil's federal energy company Petrobras (NYSE: PBR) has delayed tests for the P-50 floating, production, storage and offloading vessel (FPSO) because of technical problems, a company spokesperson told BNamericas, confirming local press reports.

Petrobras had symbolically inaugurated the P-50 in late November 2005 and said tests would start in mid-December.

The new schedule is for the P-50 to start tests close to shore in Rio de Janeiro city by February 15, after which the FPSO will be towed to the Albacora Leste field in the Campos basin 120km from shore, the spokesperson said, declining to give details of the technical problems that led to the delay.

The P-50 is being built by Brazilian-Singapore shipyard Maua-Jurong in the town of Niteroi close to the city of Rio de Janeiro.

Petrobras will have invested US$660mn in the FPSO upon its completion. The FPSO will have capacity to produce 180,000 barrels a day (b/d) of oil and 6 million cubic meters a day of natural gas.

The Albacora Leste field is located at water depths of 800-1,200 meters in the northern region of the Campos basin. Spanish oil company Repsol YPF (NYSE: REP) owns 10% of the field.

Albacroa Leste's production is considered essential for the country to reach self-sufficiency in oil and for Petrobras to reach its 1.9 million b/d of oil production in 2006.

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