Pre-salt Seafloor Construction/Remote Operations Challenges Part 3
With the experience Petrobras has gained in deepwater field construction, the national operator has learned the best ways to get the job done and who to work with. Much of Petrobras’ deepwater seafloor construction work has been done by DOF, Technip, Subsea 7, FMC and Aker. Large deepwater post-salt fields such as Roncador, Frade and Marlim amongst others have been the main testing grounds of many construction techniques and much of the equipment being installed. Obviously, experience in deepwater seafloor construction has also been gained by Petrobras and service providers in locations such as the GoM and West Africa. Most of the pre-salt subsea trees will be built and installed by FMC, OneSubsea and Aker. FMC has a total order worth $1,5 billion, which was announced in March of 2012.
Brazil Launches Oil Spill Containment Plan
Finally, after much criticism from environmentalists, politicians and even from oil industry executives, the Brazilian government launches a comprehensive oil spill contingency plan. Ironically, the PNC (National Contingency Plan), is being launched one day after the giant Libra pre-salt field auction. It’s hard to understand why the PNC wasn’t announced before the Libra auction, especially if it was ready, as it must have been. The PNC plan, according to the biggest Brazilian newspaper O Globo, had been ready and shelved in a Brazilian State Department office for over one year. Interestingly, the plan was announced one day after this same newspaper alerted that the Libra field was going to be auctioned without any oil spill contingency plan ready.
More Investments Needed Form Offshore Inspections in Brazil
With the recent Chevron/Frade spill, which has been ongoing for over 25 days, new light was shed on the shortcomings of ANP (The national O&G regulator). To begin with the regulator has only spent around $2.5 million of its allotted $8 million budget for inspection of oil and gas E&P in Brazil. As stated by O Globo, Brazil’s leading newspaper, that amount is about what Petrobras spends yearly in coffee for its employees. Only 3% of the agencies total budged is destined for O&G inspections. All that will most likely change in the near future, hopefully. For this to change there needs to be a change of policy in the Brazilian government regarding the importance of O&G activities inspections.
Frade Spill a Wakeup Call for Deepwater O&G Exploration off Brazil
The seabed oil spill that is still ongoing next to the Frade oil field in the Campos Basin is again raising the local awareness to the inherent dangers associated with O&G exploration. As many politicians and environmentalists hit the panic button, this kind of spill is, if not expected, is a definite possibility. There is simply no failsafe way to drill for oil and when the actual drilling is done underwater the risks compounded and the time it takes to resolve the issue is also increased. As this particular spill is a deep water event 1,200 meters deep it may not be so easy to stop and Chevron, the well operator has already taken steps to shut down the well permanently, this may also point to a loss of well control and a possible blowout.