The Marlim oil field is located in the post-salt Campos Basin, Brazil, approximately 150km off the coast of Rio de Janeiro. Owned and operated by Petrobras, the offshore oil field was discovered in 1985 and brought on stream through two wells connected to a semisubmersible platform in 1991.

Although the giant field achieved peak production of 650,000 barrels of oil per day (bpd) through eight production units in 2002, its average output gradually decreased to reach 75,000bpd in 2019.

Two new floating, storage and offloading (FPSO) units are being installed to replace two existing production platforms as part of the ongoing revitalisation project for the deep-water field.

Petrobras signed charter contracts for the new FPSOs in October 2019. The two new FPSOs with 80,000bopd and 70,000bopd oil processing capacities are scheduled to commence operations in 2022 and 2023, respectively.

Location and discovery

The Marlim oil and gas field lies in 650m-1,050m water depths in the north-eastern part of Brazil’s Campos Basin Basin that occupies a total area of approximately 100,000km2 off the northern coast of Rio de Janeiro.

The deep-water field was discovered by the 1-RJS-219A wildcat well in February 1985.

Marlim cluster and reservoir details

The Marlim field complex comprises the original Marlim field that covers 152km2 as well as the Marlim Sul and the Marlim Leste fields located to the south and east of the main field. The greater Marlim area encompasses approximately 380km2 within the offshore Campos Basin.

The Marlim Sul and Marlim Leste fields were both discovered in 1987 and brought in to production in 1994 and 2009, respectively.

The Marlim Sul field with three production platforms produced 135,000bpd of oil in 2019 while the Marlim Leste with two production units pumped 55,000bpd of oil in the same year.

The main reservoir for the Marlim field complex comprises turbidite sandstone formation. The Marlim reservoir was initially estimated to contain up to 1.7 billion barrels of recoverable oil reserves.

Marlim field operations and development

The Marlim oil field is developed with a total of 102 production wells, 50 injection wells, 80km of rigid pipelines, and eight production platforms including, four semi-submersible and four floating production platforms.

The semi-submersible production platforms at the field are known as P-18, P-19, P-20, and P-26, while the floating production units are P-33, P-35, P-37, and P-40.

The national petroleum agency Agência Nacional de Petróleo (ANP) granted an extension for the production from the Marlim field until August 2052.

Marlim field revitalisation

Petrobras decided to discontinue production from the P-33 and the P-37 floating platforms in 2019 and replace these production units with two new FPSOs namely Marlim-1 and Marlim-2.

The Marlim-1 FPSO to be provided by Japan’s MODEC will be named Anita Garibaldi MV33.  It will be deployed with a spread mooring system in 670m-deep waters. Scheduled to commence operations in 2022, the FPSO will be capable of processing 80,000 barrels of oil and 248 million cubic feet (mcf) of gas a day. The oil storage capacity will be one million barrels.

The Marlim-2 FPSO named Anna Nery will be chartered by the Malaysian company Yinson. It will be anchored via spread mooring at a water depth of 927m. Scheduled for commissioning in 2023, the Anna Nery FPSO will have 70,000bpd of crude oil processing capacity, 142mcf per day of gas processing capacity, and 1.6 million barrels of oil storage capacity.

Both the new FPSOs are being converted from very large crude carriers (VLCC) and will be chartered for a period of 25 years.

Contractors involved

Petrobras signed letters of intent for the chartering of Marlim-1 and Marlim-2 FPSOs with MODEC and Yinson respectively in October 2019.

MODEC will be responsible for the engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) as well as operation of the Marlim-1 FPSO.

It entered into investment agreements with Mitsui, Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL), and Marubeni Corporation for the Marlim-1 FPSO project in January 2020. MODEC and Mitsui will hold a 32.5% share each, while MOL and Marubeni will hold a 20% and a 15% stake in the FPSO.

Yinson and Sumitomo Corporation signed an agreement for the charter, operations, and maintenance of the FPSO Anna Nery (Marlim-2) in April 2020. The Marlim-2 FPSO will be owned by Yinson (75%) and Sumitomo (25%).