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DSIC in pole position for Marlim-1 floater deal

Chinese yard and Japan's Modec in talks over unit destined for Petrobras field off Brazil

Japanese floater specialist Modec is in advanced talks with China's Dalian Shipbuilding Heavy Industry (DSIC) about building the hull, and possibly the topsides, for the Marlim-1 floating production, storage and offloading vessel destined for the Petrobras-operated field off Brazil.

Asia-based industry officials said talks are ongoing for Modec to sub-contract DSIC to convert the hull of the FPSO from a very large crude carrier.

Traditionally, Modec has alliances with two yards in China for FPSO newbuild or conversion work — DSIC and Cosco Shipping Heavy Industry.

However, sources said Modec may not have approached Cosco for this particular job as the yard is busy with other fabrication commitments.

“Talks between Modec and DSIC are making good progress,” said a source, pointing out that, although Modec has signed a memorandum of understanding with Petrobras for the Marlim-1 job, a commercial contract has yet to be signed.

Upstream earlier reported that Modec has offered Petrobras a dayrate of just above $600,000 for the Marlim-1 floater.

The Marlim-1 FPSO will have capacity of 80,000 barrels per day of oil and 7 million cubic metres per day of natural gas.

The floater is one of two FPSOs that Petrobras plans to install at Marlim as part of efforts to revitalise operations at the ageing Campos basin development, with output set to start between 2022 and 2023.

It is to be chartered for a period of 25 years, but is set to have zero local content.

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Sources said DSIC is also keen to secure Marlim-1's topsides engineering, procurement and construction contract from Modec so that it could also provide the interface service in order to provide a full FPSO to Modec.

DSIC has built and delivered a number of FPSOs for China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC), the latest being the Hai Yang Shi You 118 floater for the Enping 24-2 field in the South China Sea, which was delivered in 2014.

The yard and Modec already have an agreement for joint work on FPSO newbuilds and conversions.

DSIC unit Dalian Shipbuilding Industry Marine Services is now in the middle of conversion work on the Modec Vessel 31 (MV 31) floater that will become the Guanabara FPSO and will be installed at the giant Mero field off Brazil, also operated by Petrobras.

DSIC started building and delivering FPSO modules to Modec in 2010, with the yard having already delivered 43 modules to the Japanese contractor.

The Marlim-1 conversion is the responsibility of DSIC, the parent of the Dalian Shipbuilding Industry Offshore Company (DSIC Offshore), which is now under bankruptcy administration.

“All the FPSO work falls under the remit of DSIC Offshore’ s parent DSIC,” said an industry official.

Brazil’s regulatory body the National Petroleum Agency (ANP) endorsed the redevelopment of the Marlim field in 2016, allowing Petrobras to extend the life of the field from 2025 to 2041 by deploying two FPSOs.

The Marlim field is currently producing around 65,000 bpd of oil.

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