* Petrobras signs deal with partners for 8 platforms
* FPSOs expected in operation by 2017
RIO DE JANEIRO, Nov 11 (Reuters) - Brazilian state oil company Petrobras (PETR4.SA) said on Thursday it had signed deals worth $3.46 billion for the construction of eight platform hulls to tap its huge offshore oil fields.
Petrobras said it and partners BG Group BG.L, GALP Energia (GALP.LS) and Repsol (REP.MC) had signed two contracts for the platforms with Brazilian infrastructure firm Engevix Engenharia SA for use in the first phase of production in the deepwater Santos Basin subsalt area.
The floating production units known as FPSOs will have the capacity to process up to 150,000 barrels per day of oil and 6 million cubic meters of gas per day and are expected to be in operation by 2017, Petrobras said in a statement.
Construction of the hulls will start in March at a shipyard in the southern state of Rio Grande do Sul with 70 percent of their content sourced in Brazil. The first two should be delivered in 2013 and the rest completed by 2015.
Of the eight units, six will be used in the Santos Basin blocs where the Tupi and Iracema fields are located and which are operated by Petrobras, BG Group and GALP. The other two will be used in a bloc containing the Guara and Carioca fields where Petrobras is partnered with BG Group and Repsol.
The company plans to invest $224 billion for the 2010-2014 period, its largest ever investment plan that is meant to help Brazil become a major energy exporter by tapping the vast reserves buried deep under the ocean floor in a region known as the subsalt. (Reporting by Stuart Grudgings; Editing by Dale Hudson)