Global offshore rig activity was up across the board, showing positive signs in jack-up rig activity in the Middle East and strengthening floater activity in the North Sea and South America
During week 34, Westwood Global Energy Group reported there were 322 offshore jack-up rigs contracted, up two units week-on-week. The news was even more positive for floaters – drill ships, semi-submersibles and other mobile drilling units – with 105 units contracted in week 34, up four week-on-week. The increase continues a positive trend in offshore drilling that began in week 32, according to the RigLogix database.
Brent crude, the global oil benchmark, closed at US$45.25 per barrel on 17 August, continuing its climb from the first half of the year. Over the last three months, oil has increased in value by over 39%, climbing from US$32.50 per barrel on 18 May.
On the Norwegian Continental Shelf, Aker BP awarded a three-year contract to Bølmo-based Eidesvik Offshore for the ship management of two platform supply vessels (PSVs) starting 1 October 2020.
Both the of vessels, NS Orla and NS Frayja, are UT 776 CD designs, built in 2014 at South Korea’s Hyundai Mipo Dockyards. Both owned by Golden Energy Offshore, Alesund, Norway, the vessels were fitted with battery hybrid solutions in 2019.
Eidesvik Offshore has built a reputation as an innovator, with pioneering LNG, battery and fuel cell technologies in the offshore vessel market. Eidesvik’s next challenge will be operating an ammonia fuel cell-powered PSV Viking Energy. The fuel cell will be installed in 2023 and tested over a 12-month period.
Testing of another sort was announced by Brazil state-owned oil company Petrobras, following a letter of intent (LOI) with MISC Bhd to charter a floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel for the Mero 3 Project in Campo de Mero in the Libra Block in the Santos Basin pre-salt.
For the project, Petrobras will charter the FPSO Marechal Duque de Caxias, with a processing capacity of 180,000 barrels of oil and 12M m3 of gas per day. The charter and service contracts will last for 22.5 years, counting from the final acceptance of the unit, scheduled for H1 2024.
The project foresees the interconnection of 15 wells to the FPSO, being eight oil producers and seven water and gas injectors, through an underwater infrastructure composed of rigid production and injection ducts, flexible service ducts and control umbilicals.
The Libra Consortium intends to carry out a pilot test using Petrobras’ high pressure separation technology. The equipment, to be installed on the seabed, will separate and re-inject a portion of the CO2 produced together with the oil using centrifugal pumps, allowing it to ’vent’ the oil processing plant in the FPSO and consequently making it possible to increase oil production.
The Mero field is the third largest in the pre-salt layer and is located in the Libra area, operated by Petrobras (40%) in partnership with Shell Brasil (20%), Total (20%), CNPC (10%), CNOOC Limited (10%) and Pré-sal Petróleo SA (PPSA) which plays the role of manager of this contract. It is currently being produced through an early production system, comprising the FPSO Pioneiro de Libra, with a processing capacity of 50,000 barrels of oil per day.
In addition to this system, FPSOs are contracted for the Mero 1 and Mero 2 Projects, respectively called FPSO Guanabara, under construction by Modec, and FPSO Sepetiba, under construction by SBM Offshore.
In July, SBM announced it has secured a US$600M bridge loan facility from a consortium of four banks for financing the construction of the FPSO Sepetiba.
SBM has supplied 11 FPSOs to Brazil over the last 16 years.