Marine Technology Reporter Blogs - petrobras

Water-Alternating-Gas injection

November 10, 2014

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Brazil’s National Operator, Petrobras has been experimenting with advanced Water-Alternating-Gas injection in a number of offshore plays and recently at the Rio O&G 2014, Petrobras’ Pre-salt manager confirmed that the super-major will be using the technology at most, if not all of its pre-salt plays. The WAG injection process aims to recover more oil from a reservoir and also to recover oil more efficiently. The technology was originally intended to improve sweep efficiency during gas flooding, with intermittent slugs of water and gas designed by and large to follow the same route through the reservoir. Variants include injecting gas as a supplement to water or vice versa, primarily to reach other parts of the reservoir.

Pre-salt Seafloor Construction/Remote Operations Challenges Part 1

October 10, 2014

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As a world leader in construction and remote operations in deep waters, Petrobras has been developing new technologies and testing them with their partners in Brazil’s deepwater pre-salt fields for over a decade. Petrobras has historically opted for an incremental strategy to develop its technological capabilities to explore the Brazil’s offshore oil resources. As deepwater discoveries began to enter the production phase, Petrobras opted for using and FPSOs and wet x-mas trees. These discoveries of supergiant oil fields in the Brazilian pre-salt have offered Petrobras an opportunity for reviewing its technological path and it is becoming clear that the national operator has been increasingly inclined to move as much of the oil production systems to the seafloor as possible…

Rio O&G 2014 – High Tech & Business for All

September 20, 2014

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The last day of the Rio O&G conference began with an early morning presentation on the possible uses of Nanotechnology for O&G exploration and advanced oil recovery. The sector, with the support of IBP (Brazilian Petroleum Institute) has been working on a Nano Agent capable of increasing the average oil recovery by 20%. According to Rustom Mody, Vice-Presidente of Technology at Baker Hughes, presently 60% of nanotechnology patents are from the U.S. and Canada and the number of patents has greatly increased in the last 10 years, with the market experiencing a major growth since 2009. The market presently involves values of over US$ 9 billion, up from the US$ 4,5 billion of 5 years ago.

Deepwater Pipe IMR with AS Connector

April 11, 2014

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AS Connector was founded in Bergen, Norway in 2000 to provided dedicated services and equipment for deepwater pipeline inspection. In the last 13 years the company has built up a proven track record in pipeline IMR, through the use of innovative technology solutions. It has been doing extensive pipeline work with Petrobras in Brazil since 2002, including comprehensive deepwater pipeline repair systems, installation, supply of deepwater rider protection, correction of pipeline freespans, using in-house developed tools and equipment. One of their innovative equipment is a remote riser cleaning and inspection tool, the Riser Sovereign. This equipment was custom developed for Petrobras to clean and verify flex pipe integrity. The tool is self-propelled and operated similarly to a ROV.

Pre-salt Production Start for P-58

March 21, 2014

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Petrobras’s P-58 FPSO started operations at Parque das Baleias, off the state of Espírito Santo, on the north sector of the Campos Basin through well 7-BFR-7-ESS, another pre-salt producer, which is showing an excellent productivity. P-58 is part of the North project of Parque das Baleias, which encompasses production from Baleia Franca, Cachalote, Jubarte, Baleia Azul and Baleia Anã plays. P-58 is moored approximately 85 km off Espírito Santo, at a water depth of 1,400 meters. In the upcoming months, 15 production other wells, being 8 pre-salt and 7 post-salt, as well as 9 injection wells will be interconnected to it through 250 km of flexible pipelines and two subsea manifolds.

Oil Rig Ballast Control System Accidents

March 6, 2014

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Ballast control systems are a vital part of semi-submersible oil platforms. The ballast control system is made up of a network of pipes, valves, pumps, and tanks, which work as a liquid control system to keep the vessel at an even keel. Offshore drilling is an extremely risky undertaking, which is susceptible to accidents, which may cause human casualties and environmental disasters. One of the key systems necessary to keep oil rigs afloat, is the effective design of the user interface for the ballast control system, which significantly contributes to overall safety of a rig’s crew and the environment. The threat of disaster is the main reason to provide the operators with the most effective ballast control system possible. One such disaster occurred in 2001 aboard Petrobras’ P36 oil rig.

Riserless Light Well Intervention for Deepwater Wells

February 24, 2014

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Riserless Light Well Intervention (RLWI) enables operators to increase the oil and gas recovery rate from subsea oil wells. It allows rapid well access by using smaller DP vessels instead of larger semisub drilling rigs or drillships. RLWI also enables subsea well intervention without having to use a drilling riser package connected to the subsea stack, which is topped by the blowout preventer system. Riserless intervention is a cost-saving alternative to drilling rigs, reducing mobilization time for life-of-well operations including wireline, logging, light perforating, zone isolation, plug setting and removal, and decommissioning. The technology is based on wireline well maintenance, where the cable is routed via a subsea lubricator system into the subsea well.

Managed Pressure Drilling for Brazil’s Pre-salt

November 6, 2014

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The definition of MPD recently adopted by the IADC Underbalanced Operations and Managed Pressure Committee states that: “Managed Pressure Drilling (MPD) is an adaptive drilling process used to precisely control the annular pressure profile throughout the wellbore. According to drilling specialists, bottomhole pressure is normally maintained above pore pressure by controlling the density of the drilling fluid. When density gets too high, the formation begins to absorb the fluid and the fluid density needs to be adjusted. Casing must be run to isolate the open hole before drilling can continue. The common objective of all currently known managed pressure drilling techniques is to stretch or eliminate casing points to allow drilling beyond conventional limits of depth or pressure variation.

Deepwater Remote Operations Challenges

October 21, 2014

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Today, much emphasis is given to working with real-time production data, real-time pipeline monitoring, leak detection and equipment condition monitoring. ROV/ AUV operations are used to support all sorts of deepwater seafloor construction processes, allowing operators to continuously monitor their subsea systems and intervene when necessary. Basically all equipment being installed on the seafloor has real-time communication systems, which allow operators on the surface to monitor the equipment’s performance and even control much of the equipment from the surface. Equipment that can be monitored from the surface but which cannot be manipulated remotely…

Pre-salt Seafloor Construction/Remote Operations Challenges Part 3

October 15, 2014

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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.

Pre-salt Seafloor Construction/Remote Operations Challenges Part 2

October 14, 2014

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According to Petrobras production engineers, secondary recovery is increasingly being implemented to improve oil recovery in the pre-salt carbonates, where reservoir rocks are usually oil wet, and this characteristic affects the performance of water injection. Another problem concerning water injection is related to rock-fluid interaction, which is more important and complex in carbonates. In order to assess the risks involved, as well as to define mitigation actions, rock-fluid interaction tests are being carried out in the reservoir rock and the salt cap rock. Alternative recovery methods are being implemented in the pre-salt reservoirs.

Rio Oil & Gas 2014 – Focus on Technology

September 17, 2014

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The latest edition of the Rio O&G 2014 Expo and Conference is easily the biggest installment ever of the largest O&G event in Latin America. Many foreign participants were saying that it was the one of biggest even they’ve seen anywhere and also one of the most well organized. Praises were also lavishly handed out to the quality of the technical presentations, lectures, panels and digital poster sessions. Important developments for the industry have also been announced during the event, such as the news that Brazil’s thirteenth bidding round will take place in the first semester of 2015 and Shell’s Executive Vice President Mark Shuster’s much commented speech…

Deepwater Flow Assurance – Part 1

August 22, 2014

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Flow assurance is a relatively new term in oil and gas industry. It refers to ensuring successful and economical flow of hydrocarbons from reservoir to the point of sale and is closely linked to multiphase flow technology. Flow Assurance developed because traditional approaches were inappropriate for deepwater production due to extreme distances, depths, temperatures or economic constraints. The term “Flow Assurance” was first used by Petrobras in the early 1990s (Garantia do Escoamento in Portuguese), meaning literally Guarantee of Flow, or Flow Assurance. Flow assurance is an extremely diverse subject, encompassing many specialized engineering disciplines.

Polar Onyx PLSV

June 27, 2014

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The Polar Onyx is arguably the most modern PLSV working offshore Brazil. It is a good example of how Petrobras is demanding high-powered PLSV’s and OSV’s in general to tackle the harsh environments found in Brazil’s deepwater plays. The high capacity new-built is designed for operations in harsh conditions and deep waters and is configured with an Ulstein X-bow. It is built to the highest standard in dynamic positioning, DP3 (Operations +). Final outfitting took place in Schiedam in the Netherlands, where Huisman has installed a 275t vertical lay system (VLS) and a deck-mounted carousel with capacity for 2,000t of flexible pipes. Two permanent work-class ROVs delivered by Ceona’s partner ROVOP, which can operate in 3,000m water depth, were also mobilized in Schiedam.

Ativatec ROV Tools

June 12, 2014

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Ativatec is a Brazilian company specialized in subsea technology and robotics engineering. The company was born at the Genesis Incubator at the Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro (PUC-Rio) in 2005. Today, Ativatec offers subsea services for Petrobras at the Campos Basin. Ativatec has a very good track record in developing new subsea technologies in partnership with government research institutes and universities such as FINEP, FAPERJ, PUC-Rio and Petrobras. Prizes and recognition from Petrobras for the services and products developed for the National Operator along the last 9 years, has earned Ativatec a preferred partner status with Petrobras and the company is recognized as one of the main Brazilian subsea robotic companies in the market.

Brazil OSV Market

February 7, 2014

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In the wake of the Subsea Vessel Brazil conference in Rio, Petrobras announced the approval to contract eight support vessels for its offshore activities. These are part of the 3rd Fleet OSV Renewal Plan (Prorefam). This is the 5th round and 4 vessels will be contracted from Bram Offshore, to be build at the Navship shipyard in the state of Santa Catarina, 3 from Starnav, with construction planned for the Detroit shipyard, also in Santa Catarina and 1 from Norskan, which will be built at the STX (Vard) shipyard in Niteroi, across the bridge from the city of Rio, where the Dof and Nordskan build all their Brazilian flagged ships. This is good news for the shipyards involved and for the OSV market in general, as the Brazilian offshore maritime market is heavily dependent on Petrobras orders.

Carcará - Another Big Pre-salt Play in Brazil

January 23, 2014

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The Carcará oilfield off the Brazilian coast is named for a bird of prey that is liberally known as the Brazilian Eagle, its scientic name is: Polyborus Plancus. Carcará located in Block BM-S-8 is believed to hold one of the thickest reservoirs ever discovered in Brazil's Santos Basin pre-salt cluster, with a reservoir thickness of 471 meters. The play is being developed by a consortium composed of Petrobras (66%), Galp Energy (14%), and Brazilian players QGEP and Barra Energia with (10%) each. Tested flow rates and reservoir conditions at the Carcará discovery are superior to the famous Lula field. The Lula field, which is currently producing about 100,000 bopd, is estimated to hold recoverable reserves of between 5 billion and 8 billion boe.

Brazil Exploration Review 2013

January 4, 2014

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The auction of Libra pre-salt field, forecast to contain between 8 and 12 billion barrels boe in recoverable reserves, was Brazil's first bidding round in the pre-salt area, and failed to meet the high expectations placed on it by the Brazilian government, yet the government, the ANP (National Oil Regulator) and Petrobras are highly satisfied with the results because they managed to attract important and experienced partners in Shell and Total, along with the high rolling Chinese companies. Despite a nine-month global publicity campaign and predictions of fervent bidding by as many as 40 firms, the license was awarded to the only consortium to register a bid. Another controversial state controlled company PPSA will oversee the contract’s implementation, having both voting and veto rights.

New Pre-salt Bidding Dependant on Industry Development

December 29, 2013

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The Brazilian Government has decided that any future bidding rounds involving pre-salt blocks will only be launched according to the local industry capability to supply the demand in equipment and services needed by the sector. Local industry has been struggling to keep up with the demand placed by O&G players already involved in pre-salt E&P in Brazil, which are all Petrobras partners, such as BG and others. A study is being done by the Brazilian government to define which is the adequate exploration rhythm for pre-salt development that will allow local industry to keep up with demand realistically. This is an important initiative by the Brazilian government because it will allow sector of local industry to develop technologies and services required by the deepwater pre-salt players.

Abrolhos Islands - Reefs, Humpback Whales and Oil

December 7, 2013

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Portuguese explorers were the first to arrive at the Abrolhos National Marine Park., having named the islands and sailed along the Caravelas Rivers since 1503. The name Abrolhos is short for open your eyes in Portuguese, and is an indication of the dangers to navigation in the area, which has numerous reef and rock formations just shy of the surface of the sea or even awash, and is dotted with shipwrecks. In 1987, a small remnant humpback whale population was discovered during the Marine Park’s implementation and thus Abrolhos was suggested as the species’ main “nursery” ground on the Western South Atlantic. The Humpback Whale Project was then created to promote research and protection for these mammals in Brazil.