FPSOs for the energy transition: pushing up production, lowering emissions

June 6, 2024 | by magnews24.com

Oil and gas production levels in the pre-salt basin offshore Brazil reached record levels in 2023, and Petrobras has plans to push those to even greater heights by adding 14 new floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessels over the next five years.

Total pre-salt oil and gas production hit 2.17M barrel of oil equivalents per day (boed) in 2023, surpassing the previous record of 1.97M boed in 2022.

Latin America’s largest oil producer and ninth biggest in the world, Brazil plans to increase its oil production to 5.4M barrels of oil per day (bopd) by 2029, making it the world’s fourth largest, while achieving a goal of net-zero emissions from operations by 2050.

Under its recently announced strategic plan for 2024-2028, state-run oil major Petrobras will spend US$102Bn in capex on oil and gas and low-carbon energy development, with some US$73Bn targeted for pre-salt projects.

Factoring strongly into this increased production will be carbon-intensity awareness, which has seen the Brazilian state-owned oil major reduce its absolute operational emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG) by 41% between 2015 and 2023. Last year, Petrobras reported absolute emissions of 46M tons of GHG, 2M tonnes less than 2022. Absolute methane emissions from upstream operations have been reduced by more than two-thirds in that timeframe, falling from 150,000 tonnes of methane in 2015 to 48,000 tonnes in 2023. Brazil wants to reduce its methane emissions by 70%, while producing 15 kg CO2/boe by 2030.

What this means is that sustainability must shape the oil producer’s investments in its floating production facilities if it wants to achieve its emissions goals. This was evident in May when Petrobras inked a deal with Seatrium for two all-electric FPSOs, P-84 and P-85, for the Atapu and Sépia fields. Electrification of the two units will result in lower GHG emissions than most other FPSO units operating in Brazil. The ground-breaking FPSOs will be moored in ultra-deep waters — more than 2,000 m — of the pre-salt of the Santos Basin, with production set to start between 2029 and 2030.
The FPSO P-84 at Atapu and P-85 at Sépia will each have a daily production capacity of 225,000 barrels of oil per day (bopd) and capacity to process 10M m3 of gas per day.

Seatrium facilities in Brazil, China and Singapore will carry out construction of the modules for the FPSOs, and with local content percentages of 20% in P-84 and 25% in P-85. Hull and accommodation fabrication will be outsourced and transported to Singapore for topside module integration and commissioning.

Singapore-listed Seatrium said the value of the contracts totalled about US$8.1Bn.
The all-electric configuration of the vessels is expected to reduce the intensity of GHG emissions by 30% per boe produced, placing them among the most efficient FPSOs to come into operation in Brazil.

“Sustainability must shape the oil producer’s investments”

Contributing to their improved environmental profile will be the optimisation of the processing plant to increase energy efficiency and the incorporation of several technologies, such as: zero-routine ventilation (recovery of ventilated gases from the cargo tanks and the processing); deep capture of seawater; use of speed variators in pumps and compressors; cogeneration (waste heat recovery unit); zero routine flaring; valves with requirements for low-fugitive emissions; and the capture, use and geological storage of CO2 from the gas produced.
Currently, the Atapu and Sépia fields have production from two FPSOs, P-70 in the Atapu Field and the FPSO Carioca in the Sépia field.
The operator of both fields, Petrobras holds a 65.7% share in Atapu, in partnership with Shell (16.7%), TotalEnergies (15%), Petrogal Brasil (1.7%) and União, represented by PPSA (0.9 %).

While for the Sépia development, Petrobras has a 55.3% stake in partnership with TotalEnergies (16.9%), PETRONAS (12.7%), QatarEnergy (12.7%), Petrogal Brasil (2.4%).

New FPSO for Mero field

Meanwhile, the FPSO Marechal Duque de Caxias arrived at the Mero field in the pre-salt of Santos Basin in May, sailing from Yantai, China. The FPSO has a capacity to produce up to 180,000 boed and can compress up to 12M m3 of gas daily.

Chartered from MISC, the FPSO will raise the field’s installed production capacity to 590,000 boed. This production system provides for the interconnection of 15 wells to the unit, eight oil producers and seven water and gas injectors, through a subsea infrastructure made up of 80 km of rigid production and injection pipelines, 47 km of flexible service pipelines and 44 km of control umbilicals. The unit will begin operation in H2 2024.

Starting in 2028, Petrobras will implement its HISEP technology on the FPSO that will separate oil and gas on the sea bottom, reinjecting gas rich in CO2.

The FPSO Marechal Duque de Caxias has other technologies to reduce emissions, such as carbon capture, utilisation and storage, where gas rich in CO2 is reinjected into the reservoir.

With a 38.6% stake, Petrobras is the operator of the Mero unitised field, with partners Shell Brasil (19.3%), TotalEnergies (19.3%), CNOOC (9.65 %), CNPC (9.65%) and Pré-Sal Petróleo SA (PPSA) (3.5%).


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