Petrobras began production at the Chinook field in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico on September 6. The wells in the field are connected to the FPSO BW Pioneer (a Floating, Production, Storage and Offloading vessel – or FPSO), located about 250 kilometers (about 155 miles) off the coast of Louisiana in the US Gulf of Mexico.
This is the first FPSO to produce oil and gas in the US GoM. It is capable of processing 80,000 barrels of oil and 500,000 cubic meters (17,657,500 cubic feet) of gas per day, and of storing 500,000 barrels of oil. This vessel platform is moored at a world-record water depth of 2,500 meters (8,200 feet).
The Chinook #4 production well was drilled and completed in Lower Tertiary reservoirs (formed between 23 million and 65 million years ago), a promising offshore exploration frontier that is located at a depth of about 8,000 meters (26,240 feet) in the Gulf of Mexico. This well is connected to the vessel platform by means of a system composed of subsea equipment and lines, in addition to free-standing risers (vertical production lines). Oil will be transported to land on shuttle tankers and gas through pipelines.
Petrobras is the first company to develop an oilfield in the Gulf of Mexico using these technologies, which have been successfully applied in offshore Brazil.
Cascade and Chinook operations have been implemented in compliance with Petrobras’ Safety, Environment, Energy Efficiency and Health guidelines, which the company says will continue to be faithfully enforced throughout the production phase which is now beginning.
The production from the Cascade and Chinook fields consolidates the presence of Petrobras as one of the major players in the ultra-deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Cascade, which initiated production in February 2012, is owned by Petrobras (100%), while Chinook is owned by Petrobras (66.67%) in partnership with Total Exploration Production USA, Inc. (33.33%).