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Petrobras starts production from South America’s first tension leg wellhead platform

Petrobras has started production on the P-61 Tension Leg Wellhead Platform (TLWP)—the first use of dry-tree floating technology offshore Brazil and the first Tension Leg Platform installation offshore South America—in Papa Terra field, located near the southern perimeter of the Campos Basin (State of Rio de Janeiro), 110 km (68 miles) off the coast of Brazil and with a water column of 400 to 1,400 m (1,312 to 4,593 feet).

Tension leg platforms (TLPs) are buoyant production facilities vertically moored to the seafloor by tendons. Moored in waters 1,200 m (3,937 feet) deep, the P-61 completes the production system for the Papa Terra field, operating alongside the P-63 FPSO (floating production storage and offloading), commissioned on 11 November 2013.

Thirteen production wells will be connected to the P-61, and the well currently in operation is the PPT-16. Five production and six injection wells are interconnected to the P-63, and a further five injection wells will be added.

Output from P-61 is transferred via flexible lines to FPSO P-63, capable of processing 140,000 barrels per day (bpd) and 1 million cubic meters (m³) of gas, and injecting 340,000 barrels of water. Shuttle tankers transport the oil from the field and surplus gas not consumed on the platforms is injected into a nearby reservoir.

The P-61 TLWP is connected to a Tender Assisted Drilling Platform and is equipped with a drilling and well completion rig. P-61 is connected to dry completion wells, which means that the well control valves are onboard the platform and not on the seabed—i.e., “dry tree”.

Wells are connected to the P-63 via subsea flexible pipes with electric heating, a system know as an Integrated Production Bundle, and the field’s 18 production wells feature subsea centrifuge pumps.

The topside of P-61 was built at the Keppel Felds shipyard in Singapore. The hull and mating operation (joining hull and topside) were completed at the Brasfels shipyard in Angra dos Reis (Rio de Janeiro State).

With reservoirs containing 14˚ to 17˚ API crude—i.e., heavy oil—at considerable water depth, developing the Papa-Terra field has been a challenging project for Petrobras, requiring many different innovative solutions.

Papa Terra field is operated by Petrobras (62.5%) in partnership with Chevron (37.5%). Chevron’s participation in developing this field has been an important factor, given its experience with projects of this nature.

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