New Subsea Center in Rio – Facing Challenges and Meeting Industry Demands
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.
Deepwater Umbilical Challenges in Brazil and Worldwide
In the past all umbilicals were made of thermoplastics, used mainly for transport of hydraulic fluids to open or close valves, with separate hoses connecting to each valve on a subsea tree. As the deepwater production increased, concerns over possible failures on thermoplastic umbilicals mounted, triggering the development of the steel tube umbilical. Efficiency and reliability are the keys for deepwater umbilicals. The modern subsea umbilical used by the O&G industry provides transmission of electric and fiber optic signals, electrical power, hydraulic fluids, and injection of chemical fluids from the surface to the seabed through electric and/or fiber optic cables encased in thermoplastic and/or steel tubes.
Pre-salt - Technological Challenges
Although not considered a major challenge by Petrobras, drilling two thousand meters below the water line, through about three thousand meters of sediments, and through two thousand meters of salt is done at the frontiers of technology.Drilling at a depth of two thousand meters is not a problem. Petrobras already has several wells at this depth, in Brazil and in the Gulf of Mexico, and produces at 1,886 meters in the Campos Basin, a mark that was once the world record (Shell currently holds the record, at more than two thousand meters from the water line in the Gulf of Mexico). The biggest challenge is the layer of salt, which, under high pressure and at high temperatures…