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Consortium selects three floating LNG plant designers

Eric Watkins
OGJ Oil Diplomacy Editor

LOS ANGELES, Dec. 30 -- Brazil’s state-run Petroleo Brasileiro SA (Petrobras) and its partners in a joint venture to build an onboard natural gas liquefaction unit (ONGU) for the presalt area, signed three agreements to develop the unit’s front-end engineering and design.

Petrobras said agreements were signed with Italy's Saipem SPA, a Swiss-Japanese group comprised of SBM Offshore NV and Chiyoda Corp., and a French-Japanese team made up of Technip, JGC Corp., and Modec Inc. It said the tender was launched in August and the offers delivered in October.

The groups have until Dec. 16, 2010, to develop the FEEDs, and the projects will be carried out in parallel, Petrobras said.

It said a decision will be made in 2011 on the best option to outflow gas from the Santos basin’s presalt pole, based on the technical and economic feasibility analysis of the FEEDs and of other alternative solutions such as underwater pipelines.

Once the most feasible design is selected, a new tender will be launched to choose the group in charge of building and operating the project, which is scheduled for completion in July 2015.

The ONGU will operate in Blocks BM-S-9 and BM-S-11 300 km off Brazil. The unit will be installed near the oil and gas floating production, storage, and offloading units, and will receive, process, and liquefy up to 14 million cu m/day of associated gas.

The ONGU will also store and transfer processed products (LNG, propane, and butane) to vessels, which, in turn, will transport them to markets.

LNG will be delivered to regasification terminals and injected into the gas pipeline network. In Brazil, Petrobras’ LNG regasification terminals are installed in Pecem and in the Guanabara Bay.

Petrobras holds 51.1% of the joint venture that will develop the FEEDs to build the ONGU unit. Partners BG, Repsol, and Galp Energia hold the remaining 48.9% equally, each with a 16.3% stake.

The same companies also are partners in Blocks BM-S-9 (Petrobras, BG Group, and Repsol) and BM-S-11 (Petrobras, BG Group, and Galp Energia).

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