Italy’s leading engineering, drilling, and construction services provider, Saipem, has clinched two substantial offshore contracts valued at approximately US$1.9 billion. The agreements involve collaborations with ExxonMobil’s subsidiary, ExxonMobil Guyana Limited, and Equinor, the Norwegian state-owned energy giant, spanning operations in Guyana and Brazil, respectively.
Saipem’s initial contract, awarded for the proposed Whiptail oilfield development, marks the sixth project in Guyana’s Stabroek block, positioned at a water depth of around 2,000 meters. This collaboration with ExxonMobil encompasses the design, fabrication, and installation of subsea structures, risers, flowlines, and umbilicals for a sizable subsea production facility.
To execute these tasks, Saipem will employ its vessels FDS2, Constellation, and Castorone. Leveraging its Guyana Offshore Construction Facility at the Port of Georgetown, the company plans to conduct key fabrication activities, ensuring sustainable growth within the country. However, commencement of certain activities, such as detailed engineering and procurement, awaits requisite government approvals, project sanction from ExxonMobil and authorization to proceed with the final phase.
The Whiptail project stands to facilitate the development of multiple fields, including Whiptail, Pinktail, and Tilapia. With plans to deploy drillships, the project aims to produce oil from up to 72 production and injection wells, targeting an operational timeline between the fourth quarter of 2027 and the second quarter of 2028, projecting a field life exceeding twenty years.
Concurrently, SBM Offshore recently secured a contract for front-end engineering and design (FEED) for a production vessel, designated for the Whiptail project. This development aligns with ExxonMobil’s plans to have six FPSOs operational by 2027 offshore Guyana producing around 1.2 million barrels of oil per day. The block holds an estimated gross discovered recoverable resource of over 11 billion barrels of oil equivalent.
In a parallel venture, Saipem’s second contract with Equinor focuses on the Raia project, centered on the development of a pre-salt gas and condensate field in Brazil’s Campos Basin, positioned around 200 km offshore the state of Rio de Janeiro. Saipem’s responsibilities encompass offshore transport and installation of a subsea gas export line, horizontal drilling activities for the shore approach, utilizing its pipelaying vessel Castorone for installation.
The project, expected to contribute significantly to Brazil’s gas development, involves transporting gas through pipelines spanning approximately 200 km from the field to a gas receiving facility in Cabiúnas, Macaé, Rio de Janeiro.
Equinor’s declarations of commerciality and development plans for Raia Manta and Raia Pintada fields in the BM-C-33 concession were submitted to ANP in September 2023. The project anticipates startup in 2028 and is designed to be Brazil’s first to process gas offshore and connect to the national grid without onshore processing.