Petrobras inks CVA contract for Gulf of Mexico FPSO

By OGJ editors
HOUSTON, Apr. 10 -- Petrobras America Inc. signed a certified verification agent (CVA) contract with Det Norske Veritas (DNV) to ensure that the Gulf of Mexico's first floating production, storage, and offloading vessel meets US regulations.

The FPSO is expected to be installed in deepwater Chinook and Cascade fields in early 2010 with production scheduled to start during first-quarter 2010. The FPSO will have a storage capacity of 600,000 bbl of oil, a processing capacity of 80,000 b/d of oil, and natural gas export facilities of 16 MMscfd (OGJ, Jan. 14, 2008, Newsletter). Petrobras will build a pipeline to transport the gas to shore.

The FPSO will be installed in 2,600 m of water, which DNV said is among the deepest waters in which an FPSO has been installed. Both Chinook and Cascade fields are on Block 425 of the Walter Ridge area.

As the CVA, DNV will ensure that the project complies with US Minerals Management Services requirements. DNV is an independent foundation offering technology expertise to help safeguard life, property, and the environment.

Petrobras last fall hired BW Offshore Ltd. to convert, install, and operate the FPSO. The project also includes delivery and installation of a disconnectable submerged turret production buoy, including fluid swivel and an appurtenant mooring system to be supplied by BW Offshore's subsidiary Advanced Production and Loading AS. In the event of a hurricane, the turret and swivel will enable the FPSO to disconnect from its moorings and seek sheltered waters with minimum disruption to operations.

Technip was selected to provide engineering, procurement, construction, and installation of subsea facilities to develop the fields (OGJ, Jan. 28, 2008, Newsletter). Its Deep Blue and Constructor vessels will install five free-standing offshore hybrid riser systems for both fields along with infield flowlines and the gas export pipeline to shore. Work includes welding and installation of about 120 km of 6-in. and 9-in. steel pipelines, design and fabrication of 10 pipeline end termination, and 2 inline tees.

Petrobras is the fields' operator with 50% of Cascade and 66.67% of Chinook. Devon Energy Corp. owns the remaining 50% of Cascade, and Total E&P USA Inc. owns 33.33% of Chinook.

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