This paper describes the history, challenges, solutions and evolution of the Floating Production Units in Brazil. The first floating unit was on stream in 1977 at Campos Basin in Brazil. It produced from a single well with a drilling riser and dry-X-tmas tree to a MODU converted into a floating production unit and exporting to a spread-moored shuttle-tanker by a floating hose. Now, more than 40 years later, over 2,400 meters of water depth at Santos Basin are moored several floating production and storage units (FPSOs). It houses over 40 thousand metric tons of complex topsides exploiting ultra-deep wells from the pre-salt prospects. Along the evolution of the FPSOs, one major stepping-stone was the implementation of lessons learned as a feedback to create a strong foundation. This paper will depict field demands and solutions adopted to deal with the differing climates and environments as well as other particularities to develop FPSOs in Brazil. To face the technological challenges to efficiently and safely produce from ultra-deep water complex pre-salt reservoirs required the consolidated use of the expertise and experience from past projects.
Initially Petrobras was well known worldwide as a Semi-Submersible company, with a unique proficiency to develop converted Semi-submersibles and other new constructions. This expertise is still present to this day, but the company has since pioneered and consolidated the use of FPSOs worldwide, leading the industry in this concept.
Petrobras led the industry effort to approve FPSO international standards, local regulations with agencies and regulatory bodies by the end of ‘80s to early ‘90s. This paper will focus on the evolution of this industry, highlighting the achievements, and address the new developments and opportunities for the future.