Petrobras has converted the VLCC tanker Felipe Camarão into FPSO P-50 in order to operate in the Albacora Leste field, Campos Basin, offshore Brazil. FPSO P-50 is one of Petrobras largest offshore platforms, with a processing capacity of 180,000 bopd, 6million m3/d of gas and an injection capacity of 35,000 m3/d of water.

Based on Petrobras experience from the conversion of 10 other FPSOs/FSOs, in the last 10 years, the FPSO P-50 project was developed taking into account the concepts of operability, constructability, and modularity, which resulted in several improvements on the systems and facilities installed on board.

Some of the technical challenges involved in the FPSO P-50 project that will be addressed in this paper are listed below:

  • Material Selection: detailed material selection analysis for the process plant due to the presence of CO2 in the oil;

  • Gas Compression: 3 × 2 million m3/d Centrifugal Moto-compressors, driven by Variable Speed Drivers;

  • Gas Treatment: CO2 removal plant;

  • Injection System: Sulphate Removal Unit;

  • Offloading systems: Double Discharge System with 2 Hydraulic hose reels installed at the bow and stern;

  • Marine Systems: Use of ring-shaped pipe-racks and submerged cargo pumps;

  • Chemical Injection System: Centralized filling and distribution system.

The main objective of this paper is to describe the technical challenges faced by the project team and the solutions adopted for the FPSO P-50 project.

Albacora Leste Field

The Albacora Leste field was discovered in March 1986 by the wildcat 1-RJS-342A. This 600-km2 field lies 125 kilometers off the coast of Rio de Janeiro, at water depths from 800 to 2,000 meters. The field is comprised primarily of Miocene turbidite sandstones (Reference 1). The Field Development comprises 16 subsea production wells producing 180,000 bopd through individual bundles to FPSO P-50, located at a 1,240- meter water depth. The water injection, totalizing 35,000 cubic meters, will be achieved through 14 subsea wells. After processing and treatment in the FPSO, the oil is stored inside the tanks and later exported to shore by dedicated shuttle tankers. The compressed gas is exported through a 10-inch gas pipeline up to a subsea Pipe Line End Manifold (PLAEM) that is connected to an existing fixed platform through a new 20-inch diameter pipeline. From this fixed platform, the gas is sent to shore through the existing Campos Basin gas network.


P-50 shown at Figure 1 is a former VLCC from Petrobras fleet that was converted to production from 2002 to 2005. The FPSO arrangement is modularized asshown at Figure 2, with separated modules for Gas Compression, Gas Treatment (De-hydration and CO2 Removal), Crude Separation, Manifolds, Electrical Generation, Electrical Utilities, Non-Electrical Utilities, Water Injection & Sulphate Removal, Flare System, Pipe-racks, Offices&Control and Quarters. Construction of the modules was granted to four different Contractors.

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