Petrobras gets approval for FPSO in Gulf of Mexico

By OGJ editors
HOUSTON, Dec. 12 -- Petroleo Brasileiro SA (Petrobras) has received approval from the US Minerals Management Service for the conceptual subsea development plan of Cascade and Chinook oil fields in the Gulf of Mexico.

This is the first time the agency approved a plan that includes the deployment of a floating, production, storage, and offloading vessel in the gulf.

Oil production from the project is scheduled to start in 2009, since field operator Petrobras intends to use its new technologies to allow a fast-tracked development approach.

Petrobras proposes to use six technologies, which are new to the US gulf, including a disconnectable turret buoy allowing the FPSO to move offsite during hurricanes and severe weather, crude transportation via shuttle tanker, free-standing hybrid risers, subsea electric submersible pumps, torpedo pile vertical-loaded anchors, and polyester mooring systems.

The development plan consists of the installation and operation of a FPSO in about 8,200 ft of water. It provides for at least two subsea wells in Cascade and one subsea well in Chinook, each drilled to about 27,000 ft and to be tied back to the FPSO. Based on reservoir performance, the development plan could be expanded to include additional wells on each unit.

More detailed engineering studies will now be carried out, including the preparation of the Deepwater Operations Plan which will include all technical details demonstrating that these technologies will meet or exceed the current requirements for operations in the gulf.

Petrobras holds 50% and 66.67% interests respectively in the Cascade and Chinook units. Devon Energy Corp. owns the remaining 50% of Cascade unit and Total E&P USA Inc. owns 33.33% of Chinook unit.

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