The oil production in the pre-salt region has contributed to the development of a new business opportunity in Brazil. The chartering of vessels equipped with dynamic positioning technology for offloading operations has become an attractive option for oil companies that prefer not to sell the produced oil to Petrobras.
Dynamic positioning (DP) is a vessel capability provided via an integration of a variety of individual systems and functions. A digital system maintains the vessel in the same position by using its own propellers and thrusters. Position reference sensors, combined with wind sensors, motion sensors and gyro compasses, provide information to the computer pertaining to the vessel’s position and the magnitude and direction of environmental forces affecting its position.
In June 2011, Teekay Offshore signed an agreement with BG for four shuttle tankers in Brazil. This contract marked a key milestone in Teekay’s growth strategy, with BG being the first international oil company Teekay served in Brazilian waters. The four suezmax-size DP2 shuttle tankers were constructed by Samsung Heavy Industries in South Korea, and the fourth vessel was delivered in May 2014. The vessels will operate under 10-year time-charters. BG is going to use these tankers, all equipped with dynamic positioning technology, for offloading operations in Lula, Sapinhoá and Lapa fields.
The Norwegian company Knutsen NYK Offshore Tankers will charter an offloading vessel to Repsol Sinopec for a 10-year term. The ship is being built in China and will be delivered within 2014, when it will start operating in the Campos basin. The second vessel is under construction in South Korea by Samsung Heavy Industry and will be delivered in 2015.
The market leader in this segment is still Transpetro, which owns 18 offloading vessels. Transpetro is Brazil’s largest fuel processor and transportation and logistics company, and it is also involved with importation and exportation of oil, gas, ethanol and other different products.