Petrobras Barracuda and Caratinga Project consists in an offshore deep-water oil fields production development, located at the Campos Basin, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, for which Petrobras is the concessionaire. The fields cover an area of 493 square kilometers at water depths of 600 to 1,100 meters for Barracuda and 850 to 1,350 meters for Caratinga, with reserves of approximately 1,1 billion oil barrels and 12,5 billion cubic meters of gas. The Project is being developed through a major turnkey EPC (Engineering, Procurement and Construction) Contract of over US$ 2.6 billion, signed on July, 2000, with KBR (Kellogg Brown & Root), the Engineering and Construction Company of the Halliburton Group, making Barracuda and Caratinga one of the largest offshore development projects in the upstream segment. The EPC Contract Scope of Work consists of the conversion of two VLCC vessels into Floating Production Storage and Offloading units (the P-43 and P-48 FPSOs) capable of processing 150,000 barrels of oil per day each, drilling and completion of fifty four wells and the development of all associated subsea system. As a result of the magnitude of the Contract, a complex financial structure was designed and a Special Purpose Company (SPC) was created to enable an off-balance and off-budget execution, through the establishment of a Project Finance. Petrobras, as Owner Representative, is responsible for the management and acceptance of the work accomplished through the EPC Contract, as well as, for the future operation of the production facilities, on behalf of the SPC. This paper aims at presenting an overview of the Project, along with the major challenges experienced, the means found to overcome them and the resulting contributions for the offshore energy industry.
In the nineties, Petrobras started increasing investments in exploration and development of offshore deep-water oil fields. The Brazilian Barracuda and Caratinga fields are good examples of such fields. Barracuda and Caratinga Project was developed in two stages: starting with a Pilot System, following with the installation of the Definitive System. The Pilot System, which main purposes were oil production anticipation, data gathering on the characteristics of the field's reservoir and fluid properties, started its operations in September 1997, by exploring both fields through the FPSO P-34 (P. P. Moraes), situated at 835 meters water depth. Eleven production wells from Barracuda and Caratinga fields were tied back to the FPSO P-34, with a liquid processing capacity by 45,000 bpd. This Pilot Unit was demobilized from the fields in October 2002. Futhermore, the Definitive System comprised the conversion of two twins VLCCs (Very Large Crude Carriers) into two FPSOs: P-43 and P-48. In this stage, 54 wells are connected to these platforms through a subsea system, for the operation in Barracuda and Caratinga fields, respectively. In order to develop this Project, Petrobras has structured a Project Finance. The Engineering and Construction Company of the Halliburton Group - KBR (Kellogg Brown & Root) was chosen to perform the engineering, procurement and construction work related to the fields' development.