US Clears Innovative Cascade Project in US Gulf

HOUSTON, Dec 05, 2006 (Dow Jones Newswires)

The U.S. Minerals Management Service has approved development plans for the Cascade-Chinook project in the Gulf of Mexico, for the first time authorizing the use of a floating production, storage and offloading system in the area, a Petroleo Brasileiro (PBR), executive said Tuesday.

Petrobras heard from the MMS on Monday that the development plan for Cascade and Chinook "is being approved," said the president of the Brazilian state-run giant's U.S. Unit, Renato Bertani. His remarks came at an energy conference hosted by Deloitte.

The project is expected to come on-line in 2009, Bertani said. Devon Energy Corp. (DVN) is a partner in the project.

FPSOs are floating vessels that can produce, store and offload the oil into awaiting tankers. They can also sail away from approaching hurricanes, an advantage in the Gulf of Mexico's storm-prone environment. While the technology has been used in offshore Brazil. Africa and other places, this would be the first time it is used in U.S. Waters.

The technology has long been studied for application in the U.S. by the MMS and the oil industry.

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