A recent press tour of the Brazilian offshore maritime industry gave participants plenty of opportunities to see the enthusiasm and hear the cautious optimism of the many companies participating in the development of the country’s presalt oil and gas resources.
In addition to the ongoing massive offshore development, the country also is in the throes of a construction effort in preparation for its role as host to the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics. A comment that I heard often during the tour was, “All eyes will be on Brazil in a few short years, and we will be ready to shine.”
The comment sounded a bit odd since Brazil has held, in some circles, the world’s attention for quite some time. The discovery of presalt resources in the Tupi field (now the Lula field) in the Santos basin in 2006, followed by discoveries in the Campos basin, captured that attention. The rapid-fire pace of exploration and field development has kept industry interested as it waits to see how the technical challenges of production and transportation will be tackled.
In 2012 Petrobras kicked off a Carnival-esque parade when the FPSO vessel Cidade de Anchieta, the first of 39 new production units planned for startup between 2012 and 2020, arrived on location in the Baleia Azul field. Of those 39 units 25 will start up between 2013 and 2017. The next few years are going to be very busy for Brazil.
As development efforts samba farther and deeper into the offshore, it becomes more crucial that operating standards can keep up with the pace. One area of concern – pipeline safety in extremly deep water – prompted DNV to assemble a joint industry project (JIP) to capture more knowledge on how pipelines can safely withstand the pressures of 3,000-m (9,843-ft) water depth without prohibitive cost. In an announcement about the JIP, DNV said that 65% of the world’s offshore pipelines are designed and installed to its pipeline standard. The JIP aims to research and explore, with input from relevant companies throughout a variety of industries, the optimal balance between feasibility, safety, and cost.
“We are in the phase where the objectives are clear and the systematics are in place, but we want to capture more knowledge and experience,” Ana Paula Franca de Souza, manager of the JIP, said on behalf of DNV.
According to a press release, the JIP is immediately relevant for the extreme conditions facing the industry in Brazil’s presalt fields, and advances in optimization of pipelines will be welcomed throughout the industry.
“From this joint industry project the recommendations and possible updates to the standard will have far-reaching consequences, so we welcome broad industry participation,” de Souza said.
Everyone loves a good parade, and the one marching on in the presalt will be interesting to watch for years to come.
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