In November, 2001, Petrobras signed the first contract for the construction of the FPSO P50. For the Albacora Leste field development project, a total of US$500 Million, divided into five contracts was assigned for the design, procurement, construction, commissioning and assisted operation of the FPSO unit with the oil capacity of 180,000 bpd and gas capacity of 6,000,000mÂ3/d.
Unlike other projects, the construction of the FPSO P50 was divided into five contracts in order to minimize risks and anticipate the supply of the long lead modules. The biggest challenge for Petrobras in this project was to organize itself and its contractors to fully guarantee the scope contracted and, especially, to minimize the interfaces among the contractors.
The use of a successful management strategy integrated Petrobra's efforts, assuring full participation of the Research Center, responsible for Basic Design, monitoring Basic Design detailing, the Engineering Area, procurement and construction, and the E&P group, responsible for the future operation of the unit. The jointed organization allowed Petrobras to manage all the interfaces among contractors using efficient communication channels, which was critical due to the distance between contractor's sites, taking advantage of the different expertise inherent to each of these Petrobras departments, in an integrated way.
Along the years, Petrobras has been experimenting with various ways of contracting strategies to perform the construction of its platforms. Those different contracting strategies presented advantages and disadvantages, since that in each one of them certain objectives and issues were prioritized to the detriment of others.
In the construction of the first offshore fixed platforms, during the 80Â´s, Petrobras used its own personnel for management, contracted separately the engineering and the construction and supplied the necessary material and equipment for the platforms. With the increasing complexity of the platforms, as the projects moved to deeper and more prolific fields, and because Petrobras had to follow specific rules to do the procurement, and contracting, this process became too complex and long. So, Petrobras decided to change the contracting model.
In the beginning of the 90s, Petrobras implemented a new model for contracting, which was to use a single contractor for the EPC (engineering, procurement, and construction) of the platforms. This model was used initially for Semisubmersible platforms such as P-18, P- 19, P-26, P-27 (Marlim Field), P-25, (Albacora), P-36 (Roncador) and P-40 (Marlim Sul). It was used also in Petrobras big FPSO projects such as P-31 (Albacora), P-32, P-33, P-35 and P-37 (Marlim), P-43 (Barracuda) and P-48 (Caratinga). The biggest problem Petrobras faced with this contracting model was that the risk was concentrated into one single contractor making it extremely dangerous due to the size and complexity of the projects. In many cases the contractor did not manage its resources correctly, went bankrupt and was therefore not able to adequately conclude the entire scope of its work.