The Barracuda and Caratinga fields development plan was comprised of two distinct phases: Phase 1, the Pilot System and Phase 2, the Definitive System. For Phase 1, the P-34 FPSO (Floating Production Storage Offloading) was connected to 11 production vertical wells, allowing oil anticipation and gathering important information regarding drilling data, reservoir parameters, PVT fluid properties and flow assurance. Phase 2 was developed under an EPC (Engineering, Procurement and Construction) Contract in which the scope of work comprised the engineering, procurement and construction of two FPSOs (P-43 and P-48), the well drilling and completion and the installation of the Subsea Production System for the 32 production and 22 injection wells of the Definitive System. This EPC contract is, so far, the largest ever awarded in the oil industry. In order to allow the detailing of the subsea layout and the mitigation of the installation risks, a comprehensive geophysical and geotechnical site investigation was performed by the vessel Rockwater 1 together with the engineering work. The main challenge of the subsea engineering phase was to integrate riser and mooring design. This integrated design approach resulted in a safe and cost-effective solution, enabling the design and installation of a catenary configuration for all flexible risers tied to the FPSOs. For expediting the wells interconnection to the FPSOs, complex flowline bundle abandonment was carried out by using two triple lay vessels simultaneously. The logistic planned to carry out this activity involves more than 630 km of flowlines and umbilicals. This paper summarizes the development phases of the Barracuda and Caratinga Subsea Production Systems, describing their technical aspects, technological innovations, contract strategy, component manufacturing/qualification and also the installation and demobilization plans for the Pilot System.
The Barracuda and Caratinga fields are located about 160 km from the Rio de Janeiro coast in a water depth ranging from 600 m to 1.350 m. The two fields are separated by approximately 12.5 km. The Barracuda field was discovered in 1989 by the well RJS-381 and the Caratinga field in 1994 by the well RJS-491. Proven reserves are 1.050 GBOE and total reserves are 1.140 GBOE, according to the SPE criteria. The oil densities produced from these fields range from 20 to 26 API degrees. Petrobras is developing the Barracuda and Caratinga fields in two phases: the Pilot phase, in which the production operations terminated in October 2002, had the purpose of increasing the knowledge of these fields, by means of collecting reservoir data and oil characteristics, as well as anticipating the field production through FPSO P-34 that was interconnected to 11 producing wells; and the Definitive System, in which FPSOs P-43 (Barracuda) and P-48 (Caratinga) will be interconnected to 54 wells (32 producers and 22 water injectors). Ten wells of the Pilot System will be transferred to the Definitive System (8 from Barracuda and 2 from Caratinga). The well RJS 491, which produced for the Pilot System, is the only Pilot well that will not be interconnected to the Definitive System and was abandoned in December 2002.