Angola - Pazflor
During the second half of 2011, at roughly the same time as GirRi, production began at Pazflor, the third development in Block 17 after Girassol and Dalia. The name Pazflor (“peace flower” in Portuguese) was chosen in honor of the peace agreements signed in Angola in 2002, ending more than two decades of armed conflict.
Pazflor symbolized not just a new era but a new level of complexity, given the presence of two different oils in the various Pazflor reservoirs. Acacia contained a heavy, viscous oil from the Oligocene epoch, while the Hortensia, Perpetua and Zinia fields had a lighter oil from the Miocene epoch that flowed more easily. To extract those oils, Total E&P Angola once again developed innovative technological solutions, using remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) with robotic arms to install three gas/liquid separation units on the seabed, beneath 800 meters of water. The low-density gas is carried in a separate line while a high-pressure pump propels the liquids to the FPSO, where the water is removed and the oils from the different reservoirs are mixed together. This technology, a further example of Total’s innovation capacity, had never before been deployed on such a scale (220,000 barrels a day, including 150,000 barrels of Miocene oil). It earned the Group an Offshore Technology Conference award in 2013, a decade after Total E&P Angola won its first award for the major innovations at Girassol.
Total’s use of innovative technology at Pazflor earned it a second Offshore Technology Conference award in Houston in 2013, a decade after the Group won its first award for Girassol.
Pazflor at a Glance
- Location: 150 kilometers off the Angolan coast.
- Area: 600 square kilometers.
- Reservoirs: Oligocene (Acacia) and Miocene (Hortensia, Perpetua and Zinia).
- Number of wells: 49.
- Well depth: 3,900 meters.
- Pressure: 350 bars.
- Subsea separators: 3 units.
- Plateau production rate: 220,000 barrels a day.
- Storage capacity: 1.9 million barrels.
- Number of hours worked: 17 million.
- Investment: $9 billion.
- December 2007: Project launched.
- 2008: Detailed engineering; manufacturing begins.
- January 2009: First steel cut for the FPSO’s hull.
- March 2009: Onsite drilling begins using the Pride Africa rig.
- February 2010: First subsea separation unit and the first Christmas trees are delivered.
- August 2010: Subsea installation begins from the Agercy Polaris and the Agercy Legend.
- December 2010: Three subsea separation units are installed.
- First half of 2011: The Pazflor FPSO arrives at the site.
A New Level of Complexity
The Pazflor project represented an oil industry first in several respects. It was the first time that two subsea production systems were operated from a single FPSO, one for Oligocene oil and the other for Miocene oil. It was also the first to use subsea separators to separate the oil, water and gas. The Pazflor field is made up of four turbidite reservoirs from the Tertiary period that have complex architectures and date from different epochs, and the oils extracted from those reservoirs have different profiles. Moreover, the reservoirs are buried deep underground. As a result, Pazflor posed a genuine challenge to Total’s geoscience engineers and the teams responsible for drilling the wells.
Total knows how to tackle challenges such as the Pazflor project – even on a very tight timeframe. In this case, it partnered with France’s public research, innovation and training center IFP Energies Nouvelles and the UK’s Cranfield University to develop three subsea units for separating oil, water and gas. Together, those units form a unique subsea system that is unmatched for this type of operation. Another innovation involves new flexible flow lines for transporting crude from the Pazflor FPSO to the offloading buoy. Designed and tested in collaboration with the University of Clermont-Ferrand in France, Trelline flexible hose significantly reduces mechanical stress on the FPSO’s hooks and on the buoy, enhancing the system’s long-term durability.
Turbidite: Sedimentary rock deposited by a sediment gravity flow down an underwater slope.
Construction of the world’s largest FPSO required 25 million work hours over two years.
Pazflor is not just a uniquely complex project; it is also the name of an exceptional FPSO, the largest in the world. From the outset, the FPSO’s design drew on Total’s experience with the Girassol project. Built at the Okpo shipyard in South Korea, the vessel required 25 million work hours by 4,500 workers over a two-year period. Boasting a 39,000-ton superstructure, the Pazflor FPSO can pretreat oils dating from both the Oligocene and Miocene epochs.
An Exceptional FPSO
- Length: 325 meters.
- Width: 61 meters.
- Weight: 120,000 tons, including 39,000 tons of superstructure.
- Production capacity: 220,000 barrels a day.
- Water injection capacity: the equivalent of 382,000 barrels/day.
- Storage capacity: 1.9 million barrels.
- Gas compression capacity: 4.3 million cubic meters/day.
- Number of crew members: 140.
As part of its proactive commitment to Total’s corporate HSE policy, Total E&P Angola made some significant strides in theses area on Pazflor. For example, the lost time injury rate was reduced to below 0.40 per million hours worked, thanks in particular to a campaign to educate contractors about the hazards posed by lifting operations and work at height. A series of measures was also adopted to reduce the environmental impact of Pazflor’s production operations: reinjecting gas into the reservoirs or exporting it to the Angola LNG liquefaction plant (so as to eliminate flaring under normal operating conditions), recovering heat from exhaust gases exiting the turbines and recycling gases that are vented from the tanks (to reduce greenhouse gas emissions), reinjecting 80% of produced water into the reservoirs, and so on.
In addition, Total E&P Angola has intensified its efforts to ensure greater local content in its operations – in this case, 3.4 million work hours (excluding drilling) – and provide training to its Angolan personnel while supporting the country’s economic and social development. In 2008, the affiliate unveiled a new Pazflor training center, tasked with passing on the company’s know-how, and turned over high-level responsibilities to engineers from Sonangol. With regard to development aid, Total E&P Angola is deploying a program in the Bengo, Malanje, Luanda Norte, Moxico and Uige provinces aimed at achieving major reductions in Angola’s maternal and child mortality rates, which are among the world’s highest.
The Pazflor project’s 180 kilometers of pipeline and 84 kilometers of umbilicals connect fields spanning a record 600 square kilometers. Those connections were manufactured by Angolan firm Angoflex.
Greater Local Content
Total E&P Angola draws on four major Angolan construction sites for its Pazflor operations: Sonamet and Angoflex in Lobito along with the Dande Spool Base and Sonils in Luanda. As a result, much of Pazflor’s equipment was built on Angolan soil, including manifolds, pipelines, jumpers and spools, 64 kilometers of umbilicals, 24 Christmas trees, the loading buoy, 24 wellheads and the foundations for the subsea production equipment. Similarly, the helipad, anchors, landing guards, moorings, loading buoys and export lines were all manufactured locally.
Jumper: A short-length flexible or rigid pipe used to connect a pipeline to a subsea structure or to connect two subsea structures located in close proximity.
Spool: A short-length pipe that connects a subsea pipeline and a riser or a pipeline and a subsea structure.
Christmas tree: A set of valves used to extract oil and gas from a well and inject the necessary compounds to maintain that resource in good condition.