Cosco relaunches Mero FPSO, topsides integration to follow

Chinese yard Cosco Shipping Heavy Industry has relaunched the floating production, storage and offloading vessel Alexandre de Gusmao destined for Petrobras’ Mero pre=salt field offshore Brazil.

The relaunch early this week will be followed by topsides installation, integration and commissioning, Chinese media reported. CCTV footage revealed the FPSO launched is the Alexandre de Gusmao.

The hull of the Alexandre de Gusmao was built by Cosco’s compatriot Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding (SWS). It was first launched at SWS’s Shanghai facility in October last year before delivery in April.

Cosco has been contracted by lead contractor SBM Offshore to build the floater’s topsides, the topsides’ integration with the hull as well as commissioning.

As part of the workscope, Cosco also installed the mooring system, riser and balcony, which carry a total steel weight of about 10,000 tonnes, in drydock at its Qidong yard in eastern China’s Jiangsu province.

The Mero FPSO is expected to start production in 2025.

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In 2021, Petrobras signed contracts with Dutch floater specialist SBM for the charter and provision of services for the Alexandre de Gusmao FPSO — the fourth floating production system to be installed in the Mero field in Brazil’s Santos Basin.

The latest FPSO will be installed at the Mero oilfield, 160 kilometres from Arraial do Cabo, and will be capable of producing 180,000 barrels per day of oil and 12 million cubic metres per day of gas. The floater will have water injection capacity of 250,000 bpd and minimum storage capacity of 1.4 million barrels of crude.

SBM’s contracts will last for 22.5 years from the FPSO’s final acceptance.

The project foresees the interconnection of 15 wells to the floater — eight oil producers, six water and gas injectors, one convertible well from producer to gas injector — through a subsea infrastructure composed of rigid production and injection pipelines and flexible service pipelines.

Mero is a project under the Libra consortium’s responsibility, in which Petrobras is the operator with 40%, Shell has 20%, TotalEnergies also holds 20%, and CNODC and CNOOC Limited have 10% each.

The Mero field holds about 3.3 billion barrels of oil in recoverable reserves, with all the gas to be reinjected in the reservoir to maximise productivity.

Just two weeks ago, SBM signed a deal with a consortium of 12 international banks to finance the Alexandre de Gusmao FPSO. The financing in the amount of $1.615 billion is additionally insured by three international Export Credit Agencies (ECA).