With the expected growth of Brazil´s current O&G production from 2 million boe to 5 billion boe by 2015, industry service providers are feeling the necessity of making local investments proportionate to this expected growth. Schlumberger, as a leading service provider in the O&G industry has been quietly expanding its operations in Brazil through investments in local infrastructure and in aggressively pursuing highly qualified technicians and engineers.
The most recent results in infrastructure investments can be see through yesterday´s launching of SLB´s new Research and Geo-engineering Center in Rio de Janeiro, located within the UFRJ (Federal University of Rio de Janeiro) Technological Park, which also houses the two buildings that make up Petrobras´s own research center, CENPES and will soon also house research centers belonging to other service providers. The Brazil Research and Geo-engineering Center is designed to promote the integration of geosciences and engineering in order to improve hydrocarbon production and recovery from the complex deepwater reservoirs and pre-salt carbonates offshore Brazil.
It is interesting to note that in 2007, during the first pre-salt discoveries in Brazil, geologists and engineers from Petrobras travelled to the SLB Dhahran carbonate research center in Saudi Arabia to study carbonate reservoir characteristics there, hoping to better understand the carbonate reservoirs that were (and still are) being uncovered under the deepwater salt layers off the Brazilian coast. There is no doubt in Brazil, that this study of the Arabian carbonates was vital in determining how to develop the early pre-salt exploration projects. Significantly, SLB will now use its new facility in Rio to try to better understand the characteristics of the carbonates reservoirs in Brazil, which although similar to the ones in Saudi Arabia, have their own distinctions and distribution characteristics.
The new Brazil research center includes a Geoengineering Research Center, a Geo-engineering Technology Center, and a Geo-Solutions Hub in addition to a number of Reservoir Laboratories. Each of these elements fills a key need in deepwater and pre-salt reservoir exploration and development. Regional solutions to the integration of data from seismic and other techniques will be developed in the WesternGeco GeoSolutions Hub while three Reservoir Laboratories provide the facilities to test and evaluate reservoir rocks and fluids under controlled conditions for multiple applications including well construction and reservoir stimulation.
The new Research and Geo-engineering Center covers a 10,000 m² area, and is the first such Schlumberger facility in the southern hemisphere. When fully staffed, up to 300 scientists, engineers and technical staff will be working in multidisciplinary and collaborative teams on development of innovative solutions to the technical challenges posed by the complex deepwater salt and carbonate reservoir rock formations found off the Brazilian coast. The Brazilian research center is one of only five such SLB research center in the world and demanded an investment of $48 million for its construction.
Today another SLB infrastructure project will be launched, which is the new SLB operations base in Macaé, in the northern coast of the state of Rio de Janeiro. It is to be SLB´s largest Operations base in the world, with a total area of 135 thousand m² and required an investment of $65 million. The base was built in order to unify the company´s operations bases in Macaé into a single location. These two new infrastructure projects will greatly increase SLB´s leverage in pursuing its goals in Brazil and better serving its many clients in the country, as it is a known fact that SLB provides various E&P related services to at least 95% of the O&G players in the world and basically to all players involved in pre-salt development in Brazil. The new SLB Brazil research will also be fundamental in preparing and training new generations of Brazilian technicians, geologists, geophysicists and engineers to tackle the vital deepwater pre-salt challenges.
Illustration courtesy of SLB