Saipem Taps GE to Deliver ‘Heart’ of Petrobras’ P-79 FPSO

Italian oilfield services giant Saipem has awarded GE Power Conversion a contract to develop the electrical module for Petrobras’ P-79 FPSO.

In June 2021 Saipem, in a joint venture with South Korean shipbuilder Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co. Ltd (DSME), won a contract with to build the FPSO P-79 for Petrobras’ Búzios, one of the world’s largest deepwater oil fields, in Brazil’s Santos Basin. The FPSO P-79 project is worth overall approximately $2.3 billion. Saipem’s portion is approximately $1.3 billion, the company said at the time.

GE Power Conversion’s scope includes medium-voltage and low-voltage switchboards and motor control centers and high-power transformers for the P-79 vessel “with a high degree of local content.” 

Heart of the FPSO

“The Electrical Module to be provided by GE Power Conversion is considered the heart of the platform as it provides all the distributed energy to power the entire FPSO, in addition to housing equipment that controls the vessel. The Electrical Module can be compared in size to a  three or four-story building, weighing approximately 2,000 tons, 25  meters high, 22 meters wide and 33 meters long,” GE Power Conversion said.

GE Power Conversion in Belo Horizonte in the state of Minas Gerais,  Brazil, is responsible for Project Management, Engineering, and Manufacturing of the electrical equipment for the Electrical Module which, in turn, will be assembled by Wasco Shipyard, Indonesia, and then placed on the FPSO at the Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering  Co. (DSME) Shipyard in South Korea. After the equipment has been assembled, installed, and commissioned, the FPSO will sail from South Asia to the Brazilian coast.

André Ribeiro, Commercial Leader for the marine sector for GE Power Conversion in Latin America: “GE Power Conversion has previously delivered Electrical Modules to six of Petrobras’ owned and operated FPSOs operating in the pre-salt area including P-75 and P-77 in the Búzios field, with similar scope of supply to what will be provided for the P-79 FPSO. GE’s proven track record in demonstrating technical expertise for the demanding operating profile of the FPSO has been a key success factor in securing this important contract.” 

The FPSO is slated to start operations at the offshore field in 2025. It will allow initial separation of gas from the oil extracted in the deep offshore reservoir and will have a production capacity of 180,000 barrels of oil per day (bopd) and 7.2 million cubic meters of (mcbm) gas per day, with a storage capacity of two million barrels of oil.

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