Success stories

Optimised development limits
schedule risks and reduces complexity

Bacalhau Field | Equinor
Leveraging early engagement to overcome the challenges presented by an ultradeep presalt carbonate reservoir

  • Location
    185 km [115 mi] offshore, São Paulo state, Brazil
  • Water depth range
    2,050 m [6,726 ft] 
  • Project type
  • Official award
    FEED and LLI with option for execution, February 2020
  • Status
    In progress 

Project Summary

For its first-ever high-pressure carbonate reservoir development and first deepwater project outside Norway, Equinor required an optimised development solution that reduces complexity and uses proven technology to limit schedule risks towards first oil for its Bacalhau Field project. The partners in the Bacalhau project are Equinor (40%, operator), ExxonMobil (40%), Petrogal (20%), and Pré-Sal Petróleo S.A (PPSA, PSA manager).

To help Equinor unlock Bacalhau’s full potential, during the pre-front-end engineering and design (pre-FEED) phase, Subsea Integration Alliance leveraged early engagement, close collaboration, and a digital field development solution to overcome the many challenges—such as high reservoir heterogeneity, high pressure, and ultrasaline formation water—that this ultradeep presalt prospect presents. It also reduced potential risks and delays to the project while increasing subsea performance. 

Equinor awarded Subsea Integration Alliance, as a result of a competitive tender, the FEED study and an engineering, procurement, construction, and installation (EPCI) contract for the subsea production system (SPS) and subsea umbilicals, risers, and flowlines (SURF) scopes, representing Brazil’s first integrated SPS and SURF project. The alliance’s integrated model and Equinor contract strategy have enabled the team to place purchase orders for long lead items (LLIs) early, during an accelerated FEED stage, with the goal of shortening the schedule to first oil.

The SPS scope includes nineteen 15,000-psi vertical monobore subsea tree systems and associated subsea equipment, including subsea wellhead systems, subsea control systems, OCS-V™ vertical clamp connection systems, and a full completion workover riser. The SURF scope includes approximately 145 km [90 mi] of rigid risers and flowlines and 40 km [25 mi] of umbilicals, with offshore installation activities scheduled for 2022 and 2023. The integrated field development plan provides Equinor with capex and schedule assurance and enables the company to manage the total cost of ownership over the 30-year life of field while meeting local content requirements.

Keep up with how the Bacalhau Field project is progressing by periodically checking the timeline below, which will be updated as the project reaches its milestones.



Q4 2018

Concept selection phase begins

During the pre-FEED process, Subsea Integration Alliance collaborated closely with Equinor to maximise the value of Bacalhau Field. 

Equinor and the alliance first worked to establish clear definitions of the technical and nontechnical drivers that would enable the evaluation of possible field architecture options and align with Equinor’s objectives for the project. The selected drivers included built-in flexibility regarding well locations and future expansion, mitigation of flow assurance challenges, total cost of ownership, and a focus on schedule.

Then, using these drivers and the cloud-based Subsea Planner™ on Delfi™ that accounts for a complex set of parameters, alliance team members across the globe worked together to iterate on multiple subsea configurations. Because the field’s pressure rating disqualified the use of flexible production lines, a subsea concept using rigid lines was selected. However, to introduce flexibility regarding well locations so that future changes could be readily addressed, a production loop concept with inline structures to connect the wells was adopted, enabling wellhead placement within a large radius around the production loop.

This structured approach enabled the team to fast track the overall concept selection phase of the project and produce an optimal field layout that mitigates key technical and operational risks. Despite numerous and complex challenges, the field development concept was defined in 6 months.

Digital rendering of Bacalhau Field layout.

Q4 2019

Procurement phase starts

The one-contractor model used for the Bacalhau development—with Subsea Integration Alliance both executing the FEED study and providing the integrated SPS and SURF scopes—enables earlier engagement and the earliest possible placement of purchase orders to accommodate the tight project schedule.

Pre-investment for LLIs and the placement of the first purchase orders, for the forgings for the subsea tree systems and wellheads and the pipelines, began in late 2019. During the FEED stage, which ran in tandem with LLI procurement, the primary objective was to mature the work performed during the pre-FEED phase to confirm the selected concept and advance the engineering to a sufficient level of maturity so that the procurement activities could be completed.

The first wellheads and tooling were delivered to Brazil in December 2021, and offshore installation activities are currently scheduled for 2022 and 2023.