VESSEL REFIT | FPSO Marechal Duque de Caxias – Processing platform to be deployed in Brazil’s Mero oil field

FPSO Marechal Duque de Caxias (Photo: MISC)
FPSO Marechal Duque de Caxias (Photo: MISC)

Chinese shipyard CIMC Raffles has completed conversion work on a floating production storage and offloading unit (FPSO) for Malaysian shipowner MISC. The vessel, which has been renamed FPSO Marechal Duque de Caxias, will operate in Brazil's offshore waters under charter with state-owned oil company Petrobras.

CIMC Raffles said this is the first FPSO conversion project in China that was completed within one yard. The main hull conversion, the construction of all modules, the integration, and the system commissioning were all carried out in the same shipyard.

Comprehensive rebuild process

The FPSO was originally completed as a Malaysia-registered, 300,000-tonne very large crude carrier (VLCC). The vessel has an LOA of 341.2 metres (1,119 feet), a beam of 67.2 metres (220 feet), and a depth of 29.7 metres (97.4 feet). The works entailed vessel demolitions, repair, life extension, conversion, topside module fabrication, and integration.

FPSO Marechal Duque de Caxias <em>(Photo: MISC)</em>
FPSO Marechal Duque de Caxias (Photo: MISC)

The total combined displacement of the new modules is about 44,000 tonnes, and the lightship displacement is more than 110,000 tonnes. The vessel has a 24-point mooring system and is capable of producing 180,000 barrels of oil per day (bopd) and processing 12 million cubic metres of natural gas per day while boasting an oil storage capacity of up to 1.45 million barrels.

In 2028, the FPSO will become one of the first vessels of its kind to employ high-pressure subsea separation (HISEP) technology to effectively reduce carbon release. The technology will allow oil and gas to be safely separated at the bottom of the ocean, allowing the re-injection of CO2-rich gas. Other technologies to reduce emissions include carbon capture utilisation and storage (CCUS) systems to enable CO2-rich gas to be re-injected into the reservoir.

Enhancing Brazil's energy security

Petrobras will deploy the FPSO in the Mero field of the Libra Block in the pre-salt area off the southeastern city of Rio de Janeiro, where it will process oil extracted from the wells in the field beginning in the second half of this year. The FPSO, which will be installed in a water depth of about 2,050 metres (6,730 feet), has been engineered to operate for up to 30 years even without drydocking, thus minimising production downtime.

FPSO Marechal Duque de Caxias <em>(Photo: MISC)</em>
FPSO Marechal Duque de Caxias (Photo: MISC)

The FPSO is part of Mero's third definitive production system and will increase the field's installed production capacity to 590,000 bopd. This production system provides for the interconnection of 15 wells to the unit, eight oil producers and seven water and gas injectors through a subsea infrastructure composed of 80 kilometres (50 miles) of rigid production and injection pipelines, 47 kilometres (29 miles) of flexible service pipelines, and 44 kilometres (27 miles) of control umbilicals.

FPSO Marechal Duque de Caxias
Type of vessel:Floating production storage and offloading unit
Owner:MISC, Malaysia
Operator:Petrobras, Brazil
Builder:CIMC Raffles, China
Hull construction material:Steel
Superstructure construction material:Steel
Deck construction material:Steel
Length overall:341.2 metres (1,119 feet)
Beam:67.2 metres (220 feet)
Depth:29.7 metres (97.4 feet)
Capacity:1.45 million barrels
Other equipment installed:Carbon capture utilisation and storage systems
Operational area:Southeastern Brazil

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Baird Maritime / Work Boat World