Final investment decision on Equinor’s next Brazilian floater to come ‘soon’

(U) Equinor is set to sanction development of the giant Pao de Acucar gas condensate field on Block BM-C-33 in Brazil’s Campos basin, according to an executive with the Norwegian major.

“It will be soon,” Ana Serrano Onate, Equinor’s senior vice president for petroleum technology, told Upstream when quizzed about the timing of a long-awaited final investment decision.

The Pao de Acucar field is a field of natural gas and condensates that Equinor has been poised to develop for the last two years, but it has been keen to see Brazil conclude a promised de-regulatory reform of domestic gas markets first.

Equinor, together with licence partners Repsol Sinopec Brasil and Petrobras, approved the development concept for BM-C-33, where natural gas reserves are estimated at 85 billion cubic metres.

Total hydrocarbon resources at the three fields have been estimated at 1 billion barrels of oil equivalent.

Initial conceptual and engineering studies for development of the Santos basin field point to a floating production, storage and offloading unit with capacity to produce 126,000 barrels per day of oil, and a gas-export pipeline able to handle up to 16 million cubic metres per day.

Equinor officials have said that first oil could be achieved from from Pao de Acucar in 2027.

Election doubt

Surging global natural gas prices have bolstered the project’s economics, even though some doubts linger about how committed Brazil will remain to building a competitive gas market, with elections looming next month.

Neither of the main presidential candidates have said they will roll back such reforms, although likely winner Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has spoken in favour of putting the brakes on a continuing policy of allowing state-controlled Petrobras to sell off non-strategic assets.

If the final investment decision is given, as expected, the FPSO for BM-C-33 is likely to be ordered from Modec, repeating the role which the Japanese floater giant has played on Equinor’s bigger Bacalhau project, now under development.

The BM-C-33 floater is expected to be based on the standardised M350 hull design, which was jointly developed by Modec and DSIC.

BM-C-33, located about 200 kilometres offshore in water depths of 2900 metres, was formerly operated by Repsol, with breakthrough discoveries announced on the Pao de Acucar, Seat and Gavea prospects in 2010.

The Bacalhau FPSO will have processing capacity for 220,000 bpd of oil and nearly 15 MMcmd of natural gas, and a crude storage capacity of up to 2 million barrels. It is expected to be onstream in 2024.

During her participation in a Rio Oil & Gas discussion on new technologies in the Brazilian pre-salt, Onate highlighted the decision to process gas and oil to sales specifications on board the FPSO as an innovative feature of the project.

BM-C-33, located about 200 kilometres offshore in water depths of 2900 metres, was formerly operated by Repsol, with breakthrough discoveries announced on the Pao de Acucar, Seat and Gavea prospects in 2010.

The Bacalhau FPSO will have processing capacity for 220,000 bpd of oil and nearly 15 MMcmd of natural gas, and a crude storage capacity of up to 2 million barrels. It is expected to be onstream in 2024.

During her participation in a Rio Oil & Gas discussion on new technologies in the Brazilian pre-salt, Onate highlighted the decision to process gas and oil to sales specifications on board the FPSO as an innovative feature of the project.

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