The market for ROV services is set for continuous growth in Brazil as new deepwater fields are explored and developed.
The recent contract Subsea 7´s i-Tech division signed with Petrobras (Petroleo Brasileiro S.A.) to provide ROV´s and intervention tooling services on up to 30 offshore drilling rigs is a good indication of what is to come. This contract alone will basically double the size of i-tech in Brazil, the contract value is estimated at a minimum of $250m with the potential for up to $405m, depending on the number of units that will go to each rig and the number of personnel deployed to maintain and operate the ROV´s.
There are also many ongoing ROV support vessel, Cable laying vessel, Pipe laying vessel and Multipurpose support vessel construction projects, all of which operate ROV´s. In the next five years the amount of large support vessels, especially multipurpose vessels should at least double, according to the figure on local shipyard orders for these vessels, including new builds.
The amount of new discoveries in deepwater areas such as the Santos Basin, have been very significant since 2007 and new deepwater fields in the Campos Basin have also recently been discovered, including pre-salt reservoirs. The development action at the Espirito Santo Basin is in full swing, with production beginning in areas such as Cachalote and intense development is ongoing at other areas in the Whale Park. An increase of 50% in ROV services demand is likely between mid 2010 and late 2011. The demand for ROV pilot-techs has been ongoing and there has been a marked increase for this specialty recently, which prompted the increase in course availability, although the only independent ROV course is RRC Robotica in the city of Macaé, which has increased the number of courses it offers per year.
ROV tooling manufacturers are also increasing their presence in Brazil, opening new offices and workshops in the country and making partnerships with Brazil companies to represent them.
The growth curve for ROV services is steep and it may be quite a while until it levels out as the deepwater exploration efforts are ongoing and new discoveries are expected. The sheer amount of drilling rigs on order and almost continuously arriving from oversees is impressive and with a new bidding round to happen this year, the increase demand for deepwater drilling and production rigs and consequently for ROV services will only grow during the next decade.