Petrobras Starts Production from Sapinhoá Field in Santos Basin

Petrobras has announced that well 9-SPS-77, in the Santos Basin pre-salt Sapinhoá Field, came on-stream last Tuesday, February 18th, 2014.

The well, producing 33,000 barrels per day (bpd), is connected to FPSO Cidade de São Paulo by a pioneering system in which the output pipeline riser is supported by a submerged buoy, anchored to the seabed and located at a depth of 240 meters. The well is at a water depth of 2,118 meters.

In this position, the riser support buoy (RSB) is immune to platform movements. This innovation means that rigid steel pipes (Steel Catenary Risers – SCR) can be used in some parts of this ultra-deep water project.

The buoy measures 40 x 52 meters and weighs 1,936 metric tons. It is attached to the seabed by means of eight 1,828-meter steel tendons, each fixed to one of four stakes in the seabed.

Subsea 7 built and installed the system. The buoy is capable of stabilizing pipes from up to three production wells and two injection wells. The system was first deployed in July 2013, and this pioneering project posed a lot of challenges associated with winter weather conditions.

The buoy was finally set up on December 25, 2013 and rigid steel pipes installed by January 22, interconnecting the first two wells. The connection of well SPS-77 to the FPSO was completed on February 17, after installing the flexible pipelines which were deployed for production on February 18.

The next production well is expected to be interconnected to FPSO Cidade de São Paulo by the end of the first quarter.

A further three buoys planned

This buoy is the first in a set of four to be installed in the Santos Basin pre-salt fields, two of which are for Sapinhoá Field (Sapinhoá Pilot Project – FPSO Cidade de São Paulo) and two for Lula Field (Lula Nordeste Pilot Project – FPSO Cidade de Paraty). FPSO Cidade de São Paulo, with processing capacity of 120,000 barrels of oil per day, has been in operation since January 5, 2013 when SPS-55 was directly connected to it. FPSO Cidade de Paraty also has a processing capacity of 120,000 barrels of oil per day and came on stream on June 6, 2013, handling output from well LL-11, also directly connected to the FPSO.

The second buoy, destined for Lula Field, was installed on February 7 and required less than one-third of the time spent on installing the first buoy, thanks to an improved installation process. At present rigid steel pipelines are being connected to this buoy and production is expected to get under way in the second quarter of 2014.

The third buoy, destined for Sapinhoá Field, has been at its permanent location since February 10, and is currently being tethered by means of steel tendons. Installation will be completed this quarter.

The fourth and last buoy, destined for Lula Field, is in sheltered waters in São Sebastião, ready to be taken to its final location. It is expected to leave in March 2014. Installation will be completed in the second quarter of 2014.

With the installation of the buoys and interconnection of the other wells, production through FPSOs Cidade de São Paulo and Cidade de Paraty will be gradually ramped up and is expected to reach peak production this year.

Sapinhoá Field is operated by Petrobras (45%) in partnership with BG E&P Brasil Ltda (30%) and Repsol Sinopec Brasil S.A. (25%).

Lula Field is operated by Petrobras (65%) in partnership with BG E&P Brasil Ltda (25%) and Petrogal Brasil S.A. (10%).

Press Release, February 21, 2014; Image: Petrobras

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