Abrolhos Islands - Reefs, Humpback Whales and Oil
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.
OTC Brasil 2013 – Petrobras Geology & Geophysics Expertise
During the OTC Brasil 2013 there were daily panel session, which covered some interesting themes. On Wednesday, October 30th, the panel session: Perspectives on E&P in the South Atlantic, had as one of its panelists Petrobras’ E&P Director, José Miranda Formigli Filho, known throughout Brazil simply as Formigli. According to Formigli, Petrobras’ knowledge of geology and geophysics (G&G) was vital for the national operator to meet the technological challenges and reach its exploratory success in deepwater pre-salt and post-salt E&P. Formigli estimated that by 2020 the pre-salt production will represent 50% of Petrobras’ output with the potential to reach some 31 billion barrels boe. By 2035, some 39 million barrels per day of new crude oil supply will be needed.
Wave Glider Capabilities and Uses
The Wave Glider is the first unmanned autonomous surface vehicle (ASV) to use wave energy for propulsion. Its ability to stay out at sea gathering data for long periods of time, through all weather conditions, and communicate real-time data from the surface of the ocean, assures it has a wide array of uses both for academia and for the offshore industry. First introduced in 2009, Wave Gliders have since traveled more than 300,000 nautical miles, set a world record for longest distance traveled by an autonomous vehicle, and been deployed on more than 100 customer missions ranging from the Canary Islands and the UK in the Atlantic Ocean to Australia in the Pacific Ocean to the Arctic.
PipeWay Tools –Pigging Equipment Made in Brazil
PipeWay is also a spinoff from the Genesis Institute run by PUC University in Rio de Janeiro. PipeWay Engeneering is the only company in the Southern Hemisphere with fully national production, which manufactures and operates tools for O&G pipeline inspection, which check anomalies such as oval pipes, crushing and corrosions, contributing to avoid leakages that may cause environmental accidents and safety hazards. PipeWay entered the O&G market in 1998, when the group of researchers from the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro (PUC-Rio), by using the technology of Petrobras' Research and Development Center (CENPES), launched a tool for pipe integrity management.
OTC Brasil 2013 – Opening Day Highlights
The Offshore Technology Conference Brasil 2013, was only the 2nd time the conference was held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, yet it was obvious that the conference had grown in size and scope. During the 3 days a long list of interesting and even some exiting Technical Sessions took place, addressing everything from Local Content to the latest in Deepwater Technology. After the Opening Session on Tuesday October 29th, which was presented by OTC and IBP (Brazilian Petroleum Institute) senior executives and the OTC Brasil Technical Program Chairman, the main event was the Topical Luncheon on Planning and Management of Offshore Oil Opportunities in Brazil: Petrobras Perspective, which had as its speaker Petrobras CEO Maria das Graças Foster.
Franco Pre-Salt – New Monster Play in Brazil
The Franco pre-salt field, which is located southwest of the massive Libra field that will be auctioned in October 21st, originally had been forecast to contain 3 billion barrels boe of recoverable light oil. In light of new studies, the Franco pre-salt field is now believed to contain recoverable oil volumes equal to or superior to the Libra pre-salt field, something hovering around 10 billion barrels boe. This is excellent news for Petrobras, which is in the process of making major exploratory, production and infrastructure investments and desperately needs new capital. The reason it being excellent news has nothing to do with oil auction…
O&G Mergers and Acquisitions on the rise in Brazil
According to data from KPMG consulting there were 22 merger and acquisition operations in the market during the first 6 months of 2013, 4 times higher than in the first semester of 2012. This is mostly due to the 11th round of bidding that took place in April sponsored by the ANP (National Petroleum Agency). According to a KPMG executive, since the O&G sector had not had any bidding rounds for 5 years, a score of new business opportunities arose that attracted many foreign investors. Of these 22 operations, 10 were buy-outs, where foreign companies bought Brazilian companies in order to enter the market. Another fact that relates to…
North Brazil Oil – Deepwater Oil off the State of Pará
Brazil’s Equatorial Margin, which is the country's coastline facing north, has recently had offshore exploration blocks acquired by a number of players during the 11 bidding round in early 2013. One of the states with a coastline on the Equatorial Margin, the state of Pará already has proven reserves established by Petrobras, which has been drilling there since the beginning of the year. More recently it has been established that these reserves are economically viable to be explored commercially. Rumors had it that Petrobras was satisfied by the way the exploration effort was developing. The Harpia exploration well, which began drilling in January 2013 in water depths of 2…
Efficient Drill Bits for the Pre-salt
The expression "pre-salt" refers to an aggregation of rocks located offshore along large portions of the Brazilian and West African coasts, it forms a carbonate rock interval that ranges under an extensive layer of salt which, in certain areas of the Brazilian coast, can be as much as 2,000 meters thick. The total depth of these rocks formations, or the distance between the surface of the sea and the oil reservoirs under the salt layer, can be as much as 7,000 meters. Drilling in the pre-salt is extremely complex and may require multiple trips being made by the drill bit in order to drill short lengths due to different rock layers with varying degrees of hardness. Another challenge is that the salt is very corrosive and is also plastic, as you drill down, it tends to close the well walls.
Subsea Well Response Project to be launched in Brazil
With the continued increase in deepwater drilling off the coast of Brazil, it is good to see that Petrobras, Brazil’s national operator, will soon have a well containment device ready for immediate deployment in case of a deepwater blowout such as was experienced in the Deepwater Horizon tragedy at the GoM. According to a Petrobras drilling inspector who prefers to remain anonymous, the Brazilian super-major player believes that their well drilling and completion systems are totally reliable as long as their safety procedures are followed, however, they are taking no chances and have joined forces with other major operators to increase drilling, completion and production safety standards worldwide.
A Monster Named Libra
Back in 2009 I asked a good friend of my late father, who happened to be a long time Petrobras geologist, if he really knew the full potential of the pre-salt, after a while he looked up and said no not really, I know there are big fields out there, probably up to 10 billion boe in some reservoirs, possibly much more... Well, Petrobras kept on drilling and when Libra was found northeast of the Lula field (5 to 8 billion barrels boe), in 2010, the expectations ran high. Maybe 3.7 billion boe, maybe 15 billion boe. Probably 7.9, those are the numbers the ANP had in 2010. By May 2011 the ANP was downgrading it to 5 billion barrels boe.