Petrobras Betting on Partnerships to Develop Deepwater Equipment and Solutions
Due to the extreme demands placed on subsea equipment used in the pre-salt E&P Petrobras has been forming various partnerships with local and foreign companies to develop specially designed equipment to tackle the hazards of deepwater pre-salt development.
One of the newest partnerships implemented by Petrobras, was for a feasibility study on Flexible pipes for practical oil production in pre-salt area with Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation (JOGMEC).
JOGMEC and PETROBRAS have a long history of research and development partnerships which started back in 2005, for collaboration on mutual benefit O&G exploration and production activities, HSE related matters, and R&D activities of the O&G sector.
The first collaborative research study on Mono-Column Hull (Cylinder shape) FPSO (Floating, Production, Storage and Offloading) system, was started in 2006 and it was finished successfully with excellent and fruitful results. This new feasibility study on Flexible pipe will be the second collaborative study.
The feasibility study on Flexible pipe will be conducted by a Japanese consortium consisted of Furukawa Electric Co., Ltd. and other companies and the scope of this study is to develop the Flexible pipes for offshore oil production in ultra deep waters for the pre-salt areas in Brazil. The term of this feasibility study is December, 2014. Once this project is technically validated, JOGMEC will be evaluating the desirability of opening a manufacturing plant in Brazil.
The flexible pipe market for deep and ultra-deepwater applications is definitely growing in Brazil, with Technip also expanding its deepwater flexible pipe applications and other companies specialized in flex pipes also investing in deepwater flex pipes in order to compete for the many Petrobras tenders expected to occur in the next few years. The competition for these Petrobras contracts will be intense as the national operator always leans towards the best price for the products it purchases. At the same time they demand the highest possible quality and reliability standards, and these standards will certainly be even more stringent when dealing with production flex pipes laid down at over 2,000 meters for extended lengths. This harsh competition between the manufacturers is bound to raise the standards of flexible pipe manufacturing even higher than it is today, which is certainly a bonus, as the consequences to the environment and to production of a flex pipe failure in deep waters can be dire.