Brazil´s Floating Offshore Oil Terminal set for 2014
Petrobras will launch a world first floating offshore oil terminal in order to be able to transfer oil to oil tankers offshore, beginning in 2014. Up until now the oil had to be transported through pipelines from the offshore rigs to the coast where tankers would load up the oil. It is expected that this new system will decrease oil transportation costs as tankers will be relieved from the high Brazilian port taxes, the tankers will also save up on their own bunker oil as the distances they will have to travel will decrease.
The new system should be used mainly for export oil and will also probably be a hub for tankers coming to fill up on deepwater pre-salt oil. Since most pre-salt acreage is located up to 300km from the coast the storage unit, which will be moored around 90 km from the coast definitely makes sense.
The storage ship will be located reasonably close to the production rigs and will be capable of storing up to 2 million barrels of oil, which is equivalent to Brazili´s daily oil production. A system of subsea conductors and flowlines controlled by valves will transport the oil from the production rigs to the storage ship, thus simplifying the oil transfer process and making this process safer and less costly.
The cost of building the floating storage unit is estimated at US$ 318 million, not including the freight taxes. It is reported that the ship will be built in China by an Indian company called Tanker Pacific.
Some say it would be ideal if the storage ship could be built in one of the new shipyards in Brazil. However, in order to guarantee the 2014 deadline, it was deemed better and safer to use a Chinese shipyard which has the necessary experience in large tanker manufacture and refit. It is not clear which Chinese yard will be responsible for this.
Claudio Paschoa is Marine Technology Reporter's correspondent in Brazil.