BM-C-33 gas and condensate field is located offshore in the Campos Basin, Brazil. (Credit: Equinor ASA)
The final investment decision to develop the project was taken in May 2023. (Credit: Equinor ASA)
BM-C-33 development plan includes an FPSO capable of processing gas and oil/condensate for sale. (Credit: © MODEC, Inc.)

BM-C-33 is a deepwater gas and condensate field being developed in the pre-salt region at the southern part of the Campos Basin, offshore Brazil.

The licence is situated approximately 200km from the shore, in water depths up to 2,900m.

BM-C-33 comprises three pre-salt discoveries- Pão de Açúcar, Gávea and Seat. The field cluster is estimated to contain natural gas and oil/condensate recoverable reserves of more than one billion barrels of oil equivalent (boe).

Equinor operates the field with a 35% interest. The other partners are Repsol Sinopec Brasil (35%) and Petrobras (30%).

The field is expected to start production in 2028.

BM-C-33 field background details

Repsol Sinopec Brasil acquired the BM-C-33 block in an auction held by Brazil’s National Petroleum Agency (ANP) in 2005.

The discoveries were made by Repsol Sinopec in 2010.

Equinor became the operator of the block in 2016, and the company, along with its partners Repsol and Petrobras, approved the development concept for BM-C-33 in March 2021.

The final investment decision to develop the project was taken in May 2023. The development is expected to entail an investment of approximately $9bn.

Geology and Appraisal details

The BM-C-33 field features complex reservoirs that exhibit a heterogeneous silica-rich carbonate with vugs, caverns and fractures.

Between 2013-2015, the project partners drilled and tested the Seat-2, PdA-A1 and PdA-A2 appraisal wells in the licence.

The Gavea A1 appraisal well, completed in 2016, encountered a 175m hydrocarbon column in a high-quality reservoir of silicified carbonates of Macabu formation.

It reached a total depth of 6,230m and was tested producing around 16 million standard cubic feet (scf) of gas and 4,000 barrels per day of oil.

Previously in 2012, Pão de Açúcar well, which discovered the third find in the block, encountered two pre-salt accumulations comprising a hydrocarbon column of 480m with a total pay of around 350m.

BM-C-33 Development Details

The BM-C-33 development plan includes a floating production storage and offloading (FPSO) unit capable of processing gas and oil/condensate, thereby eliminating the need for further onshore processing.

The well streams will be tied to the FPSO vessel, which will process gas and oil/condensate to sales specifications for export.

The processed crude will be offloaded by shuttle tankers and then transported to the international market following ship-to-ship transfer.

The gas processed at the FPSO will be transported via a 200km offshore gas pipeline to an onshore gas receiving plant at the Petrobras TECAB complex at Cabiúnas in the city of Macaé, Rio de Janeiro state. From there, the gas will be transported to the domestic gas transmission network.

According to the development plan, the project’s gas export capacity will be 16Mm3/day with average exports expected to be 14Mm3/day.

Daily oil processing capacity will be around 20,000m3.

Contractors Involved

Equinor awarded a pipeline concept study for gas export from the BM-C-33 field to the coast of the Rio de Janeiro state to subsea engineering company IKM Ocean Design in 2020.

Seaplace, an offshore engineering consultancy firm, was contracted to provide technical support on BM-C-33 field project development. The company was responsible for providing Integrated Visualization, pre-bidding and bidding support, contractor selection, naval architecture, marine survey and metocean studies, data analysis and documentation review.

In July 2022, TechnipFMC signed a Letter of Intent (LoI) for an integrated Front End Engineering and Design (iFEED) study on the BM-C-33 project.

TechnipFMC was awarded the contract, worth more than $1bn, in May 2023, following the completion of iFEED study of the offshore field.

The scope of the contract includes the entire subsea system, including Subsea 2.0 tree systems, manifolds, jumpers, risers and flowlines, umbilicals, subsea distribution and topside control equipment, pipeline end terminations, and installation. The company will also be responsible for life-of-field services.

In the same month, MODEC signed a Sales and Purchase Agreement (SPA) with Equinor to supply the FPSO vessel for the BM-C-33 field.

The contract includes FEED, and Engineering, Procurement, Construction and Installation (EPCI) for the entire FPSO. MODEC will also be responsible of operating and maintaining the FPSO for the first year following the start of oil production.

The FPSO is anticipated to be delivered in 2027.

The FPSO infrastructure will have topsides to produce approximately 125,000 barrels of crude oil per day. It will have a minimum crude oil storage capacity of 2 million barrels.

The vessel will be able to produce and export about 565 million standard cubic feet of associated gas per day.