Petrobras Seeking Replacement for P-36

Petrobras is seeking proposals from international shipbuilding firms for the construction of a new giant deep-water oil rig to replace the P-36 which sank in March.

Petrobras Services Director Antonio Luis Menezes stated that the new platform would have the same capacity of 180,000 barrels per day as the P-36.

"It will be an international competition, where Brazilian firms also can participate, in order to install the platform in the same place where P-36 used to be," he said.

Menezes added that in the meantime, a temporary platform would be installed at the Roncador offshore oil field to produce the same amount of oil as P-36 used to pump out before it sank, or 80,000 barrels per day. The P-36 only started operating last year and was working at below half of it total capacity.

"We want to recover the 80,000 bpd production as soon as possible," Menezes said, adding that Petrobras already had some offers to buy such a rig. The firm is also looking for ways to adapt an oil storage platform that worked jointly with P-36.

"We'll either adapt P-47, which also can produce 80,000 bpd, or will buy one form the market," he said.

Last week, the company lowered its output target for 2001 to 1.39 million barrels per day (bpd) from 1.42 million bpd due to the sinking of P-36. However, the target is still well above last year's average production of 1.27 million bpd.

The average production target for the next few years remained unchanged despite the accident, however.

The company said it expected to minimize losses from the sunken rig by putting its new production unit into operation on the Marlim Sul field as soon as possible using some remaining equipment from the P-36 project. The first unit on the Roncador field should start working at the end of 2002.