Brazil launches new platform, loading terminal

Petrobras has inaugurated the P-51, the company's first-ever domestically built semisubmersible platform—a milestone event according to government and company officials.

Eric Watkins
Oil Diplomacy Editor

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 8 -- Petroleo Brasileiro SA (Petrobras) has inaugurated the P-51, the company's first-ever domestically built semisubmersible platform—a milestone event according to government and company officials.

"This platform, the first that is 100% national, also fulfilled, within international standards, the pre-established terms and costs," said Petrobras Pres. Jose Sergio Gabrielli de Azevedo.

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said, "What we want is to build, in our country, a large oil industry and naval base, so we can have a production base not only to meet Petrobras' needs, but also to meet the entire world's increasing demand for oil and gas," said the Brazilian president.

Lula said the pioneer would not be the only platform Brazil would build. "What we want in the future is to export platforms to Singapore, Venezuela, and Colombia, and satisfy the world's oil demand," Lula said.

Operations
According to Petrobras, the P-51 is expected to be installed in the Campos basin this month and will start operating late this year. It will be installed in Marlim Sul field 150 km offshore and anchored in water 1,255 m deep.

The P-51 will be interconnected to 19 wells (10 oil and gas producers and 9 water injectors) and will produce 22° gravity oil.

The platform has the capacity to process 180,000 b/d of oil and 6 million cu m/day of natural gas, accounting for 8% of Petrobras's total domestic oil production when it reaches maximum operating capacity in 2010.

Tanker loading platform
The startup of the P-51 platform coincides with reports that Petrobras also has begun operations at its new $837 million tanker loading terminal in the Campos basin. The loading terminal is a facet of the company's master plan to export large quantities of oil from Roncador and Marlim fields over the next 2 decades.

The Brazilian firm has commissioned the PRA-1 autonomous repumping platform in waters east of Rio de Janeiro and plans to begin oil exports through the new system this month.

The repumping platform is designed to receive crude from four deepwater floating production systems: the P-51 platform in Marlim Sul field; the P-53 floating production, storage, and offloading vessel in Marlim Leste field; and—once they are installed—the P-52 and P-55 production platforms in Roncador field.

The PRA-1 platform will offload the crude to tankers via the Modec-owned Cidade de Macae floating storage and offloading vessel, starting with oil that is coming from the P-52 platform.

Modec will operate for 20 years the Cidade de Macae, which was converted from a very large crude carrier and can store as much as 2.1 million bbl of oil.

Next year, oil will also be loaded on to tankers from two floating terminals near the PRA-1 platform, which is designed to transfer as much as 810,000 b/d of oil when all four of the deepwater production units operate at peak rates.

Contact Eric Watkins at hippalus@yahoo.com.

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