Petrobras: Piranema FPSO to Arrive in January, Field Delayed

Brazil's federal energy company Petrobras expects the SSP Piranema vessel to arrive in the country in January, company E&P director Guilherme Estrella told reporters, confirming a delay in the Piranema field startup.

Petrobras said last week the floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel - which will serve the light-crude Piranema field in northern Brazil - would arrive in mid-December. The company leased the round hull, 30,000b/d SSP Piranema from Norwegian oil services firm Sevan Marine as part of the US$420mn Piranema project. Petrobras earlier expected to start production at Piranema by year-end.

The FPSO, however, is still in Europe and needs good weather conditions and environmental licensing from Brazilian authorities before it can set off for Brazil, said Estrella. Planners are seeking places to moor the vessel in Brazil while it awaits licensing, according to Sevan.

"We have to wait for good weather conditions for the FPSO to cross the Gulf of Biscay," Estrella said. "We also are holding meetings with environmental authorities to speed up the licensing process."

Meanwhile, Petrobras is preparing to drill another two fields in Piranema before starting production, Estrella said, without saying when field output would start. Piranema, in the northeastern Sergipe-Alagoas basin, was declared commercially feasible at the end of 2005. Petrobras decided to test the round hull technology in Piranema as a pilot for other projects. "Piranema is important because it will test the new technology at small capacity as a test for bigger production units," he said.

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