Marine Log

December 14, 2006

MMS approval for Petrobras FPSO concept

Petrobras says the U.S. Mineral Management Service (MMS) has approved Petrobras' Conceptual Plan to develop the Cascade and Chinook fields in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico.

It marks the first time the use of a Floating, Production, Storage, and Offloading (FPSO) type platform has obtained this level of approval to operate in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico.

Petrobras has an extensive, proven track record in FPSO use in Brazilian waters since 1979, where 15 units are currently in operation and another nine under construction.

Petrobras has proposed using six new technologies that have never been applied in the U.S. sector of the Gulf of Mexico, including FPSOs with disconnectable turrets, that allow them to be removed in the event of hurricanes or other storms, oil transportation by relief vessels, submerged pumps, self-sustainable risers, torpedo piles, and polyester anchoring lines.

The plan foresees the installation and operation of an FPSO at water depths of approximately 2,500 meters. In the first phase, two submarine wells in Cascade and one in Chinook, each at a depth of nearly 8,200 meters, will be interconnected. Oil and gas production will be offloaded by relief vessels and via a gas pipeline, respectively.

Depending on reservoir behavior, new wells may be interconnected in the future.