Petrobras seeks bids to build 28 offshore platforms

Brazil’s state-run Petroleo Brasileiro SA (Petrobras) will receive bids next week from shipyards to build 28 offshore platforms for developing oil fields in the ultradeep subsalt layer.

Eric Watkins
OGJ Oil Diplomacy Editor

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 9 -- Brazil’s state-run Petroleo Brasileiro SA (Petrobras) will receive bids next week from shipyards to build 28 offshore platforms for developing oil fields in the ultradeep subsalt layer.

“The board of directors approved the strategy for construction of 28 new drilling rigs to be built in Brazil, with increased national content, to explore ultradeep waters including fields located in the subsalt,” Petrobras said in a statement.

Renato Duque, Petrobras service director, announced the bidding procedure for construction of the rigs. Bids will be divided into three packages, with the units expected to go on stream during 2013-17.

“The first (package) will be for seven drilling vessels with capacity to drill at a depth of 3,000 m from the water line. These are traditional, top devices in terms of dynamic positioning,” he said.

“Building seven units will allow the creation of a new shipyard in Brazil. This does not mean we will have a new shipyard, but this is quite likely on account of the scale,” Duque said.

The second package of two units may be of the drilling vessel, semisubmersible, or monocolumn types, Duque said. “Each of these units will be hired from one shipyard, because we want both of them to be delivered within a 40-month timeframe,” he said.

The third, charter-based package will be done in line with Petrobras’s practice up to now, except for one detail: the units must be built in Brazil.

“The only limitation is that each operator may offer no more than 4 units. We can hire no more than 19 units, in order to total 28. Any type of technological innovation will be allowed in the last two lots,”Duque said.

A value for the tenders was not announced. Brazil’s government, however, has pledged 4 billion Brazilian reals ($2.2 billion) in financing to guarantee construction of the rigs, Petrobras said last month.

Brazil’s subsalt discoveries were made under a thick layer of salt in the Santos basin off Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro states. The oil lies under more than 2,000 m of water and a further 5,000 m under sand, rock, and a shifting layer of salt.

Contact Eric Watkins at hippalus@yahoo.com.

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