New Subsea Center in Rio – Facing Challenges and Meeting Industry Demands

New Wave Media

June 15, 2013

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With the continuous increase of subsea equipment and services companies setting up in Rio de Janeiro, including local companies, The State Government, through its State Office for Local Development (Secretaria Estadual de Desenvolvimento Econômico), has decided to create a subsea center in order to stimulate the sector and bring investments to subsea technology suppliers eyeing the Petrobras orders. Today there are around 35 subsea companies located in Rio (8 offering equipment and 27 offering services). These companies have a workforce of almost 1,200 employees, and the idea behind the subsea center is to attract suppliers and investors for these companies.

Among the equipment suppliers there are big companies specialized in subsea equipment such as X-mas trees, BOPs, flex pipes, manifolds and risers. The model for the subsea center to unite these companies has been in discussion for over 6 months, through the partnership of the State Economic Development Office, Firjan (Federation of Industries of Rio de Janeiro), IBP (Brazilian Petroleum Institute), ONIP (National Organization of Petroleum Industries), Sebrae-RJ (Brazilian Service in Support of Small and Micro Companies) and Rio Negocios (Rio Business Office). Another important development is that it is almost certain that the Norwegian model for this segment will be used as a basis for the new subsea center and initiatives related to the subsea industry in Rio. This is definitely good news as it is best to use a model that has proven to be effective than to try to create a model from scratch.

The location of the new subsea center is still being debated but it will definitely be somewhere in the north zone of the city of Rio de Janeiro, no more than 30km from downtown Rio and the Rio port facilities.

Here is a listing of some of the large subsea equipment in demand:

• Production wells (casing, packers, tubing etc)

• Water and gas injection wells

• CO2 injection wells

• Christmas trees & Manifold

• Flowlines

• Production risers, rigid & flexible

• Subsea treatment equipment

• Drilling equipment

• Downhole equipment

• Umbilicals

• Subsea Separators

Other than large subsea equipment as listed above, there is also a serious capability gap that these subsea companies and others to follow will need to address, some of which are:

-Limited availability of high quality high integrity forgings and casting suppliers.

-Low presence of CRA and high alloy raw materials manufacturing, stockholding and processing.

-Low presence of Turnkey manufacturers within the metals sub component sector.

-Limited presence of Quality precision engineering companies.

-CRA Clad overlay processing, there are few specialists in country.

Some of the Major challenges faced by these subsea companies are:

-10,000 – 20,000psi well pressures

-CO2 at partial pressures that it supercritical

-Temperatures >150 degrees Celcius -Sour fields >130,000ppm -

SSC issues -

HE issues

-Strong and sometimes unpredictable deepwater currents.

Paschoa, Claudio
Claudio Paschoa is Marine Technology Reporter's correspondent in Brazil.