Global geosciences company and Acteon unit Benthic has secured a contract from Petróleo Brasileiro (Petrobras) to provide geotechnical site investigation services at the Mero field off the coast of Brazil.

The Mero field is an ultra-deepwater oilfield situated approximately 180km offshore Rio de Janeiro in the pre-salt area of the Santos Basin.

Under the work scope of the contract, Benthic will provide in-situ testing, sampling and seismic cone testing at 26 locations in water depths of 2,200m.

Benthic stated: “The company will use its PROD3 seabed drilling and geotechnical testing system, a proprietary, portable, remotely operated drill that can switch between piston sampling and rotary coring to maximise productivity.

“The PROD3 is up to five times more productive than a drillship in water depths over 500m.”

Despite the Covid-19 pandemic and current state of the global economy, Benthic said that the deepwater offshore operations will take place this year.

Following the completion of the offshore operations, Benthic will complete onshore laboratory testing at its new technology centre in the municipality of Rio de Janeiro.

Benthic Brazil country manager Fabio Pereira said: “This contract follows a recent sequence of successful projects and reaffirms our commitment and working relationship with Petrobras in Brazil.

“This is a key international market for Benthic and the subsea service industry in general.”

Meanwhile, Petrobras also awarded a large contract for engineering, procurement, construction and installation (EPCI) to TechnipFMC for the pre-salt Mero field.

Last week, Petrobras signed a letter of intent (LoI) with Malaysian contractor MISC Berhad for the charter of a floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel to be deployed at the Mero field.

The Mero field is owned by the Libra consortium, which is operated by Petrobras (40%) and includes Shell Brasil Petróleo (20%), Total E&P do Brasil (20%), CNODC Brasil Petróleo e Gás (10%) and CNOOC Petroleum Brasil (10%).