ROV Demand Still Increasing in Brazil
With a number of new O&G discoveries popping up nearly continuously in Brazil, both in shallow and deepwater, there has been a significant increase in ROV demand by operators, not only the major players but by all players involved on the Brazilian oil boom.
In general the delivery of a complete ROV system may take around nine months, this includes the delivery of key equipment such as heavy duty winches, power and control umbilicals, flotation foam blocks, control modules, tooling kits and backup equipment. Here in Brazil, ROV manufacturers, which are basically all foreign companies with local offices, have been increasing their local stocks of ROV systems.
Most companies have some form of technical maintenance warehouses in the city of Macaé, a few hundred miles northeast of the city of Rio. Macaé is still the main hub of the O&G industry in Brazil, concentrating operations offices, training centers and warehouses stocking replacement equipment. Some say the city is reaching its limit in terms of new areas for construction of oil industry facilities, including various kinds of factories. Luckily, this is far from the truth as Macaé still has a lot of land available for construction in the outskirts of town.
With the great amount of PSV, Multipurpose Vessels, Drillships, Rigs and FPSOs being built, and with most of these requiring at least a couple of ROVs, the demand for these vital subsea workhorses is steady and showing a tendency to increase in the next few years.
Most ROV manufacturers and also suppliers of various specialized tools and equipment used in ROV systems appear to be quite satisfied with business in Brazil. I have heard complaints mostly related to logistics problems in delivering equipment to Brazil, mainly due to customs inefficiency and bureaucracy, which unfortunately is an ongoing problem that creates a bottleneck for any equipment placement logistics plan.
It is quite possible that more ROV manufacturers will build construction facilities in Brazil, as has already happened to umbilical and flow line manufacturers. There is also a good possibility that in the next 5 years at least a couple of national ROV manufacturers may join the growing marked. This is true because the technology used in ROV systems, although state-of-the-art, is now more accessible to small and highly technical entrepreneurs, especially with the growing emphasis in high end technology research geared to the O&G industry and led by the UFRJ´s (Federal University of Rio de Janeiro) technology park.