The Brazillian presalt frontier

The most exciting development in years has been the recent discovery of major presalt oil reserves off the coast of Brazil – and Norwegian companies are already in the thick of the oil-related activities in the region.

The activities in presalt reserve areas will greatly test the oil and gas industry’s ability to supply equipment and services where and when needed in order to make the most of opportunities that the discoveries represent. This is a great strength of the Norwegian industry – to be able to ensure a solid supply chain on a global basis – main contractors, system integrators, product supplier, competence and service providers – all supported by innovative research and development programs both public and private.

Enormous Potential
This recent discovery of massive offshore oil fields could turn the country into a major oil exporter, a discovery that will make Brazil the largest oil province in the region. The production potential is huge, and Norwegian companies are very active with activities taking place in Brazil, with the full support of the Norwegian Government.

On hand in Rio de Janeiro was Aftenposten/E24 journalist Arne Halvorsen as Francisco Nepomuceno Filho, E&P Corporate Executive Manager for Petrobras explained that Brazil’s presalt prospectivity is greater than that of the Gulf of Mexico, noting that all nine of Brazil’s presalt wells produced oil, and that the high-pressure, acid environment will require special production equipment.

Close Cooperation
The expertise offered by Norwegian companies is vast, and the support of the Norwegian Government solid. This is witnessed by the participation of the Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg in n Brazilian-Norwegian Strategic Partnership Seminar with a focus on Presalt Development and the Tupi Project. Held in September 2008 with an official opening by the Prime Minister, and participation by the highest levels of leadership from organizations including Petrobas, StatoilHydro, Aker Solutions, Sevan Marine, FMC Technologies, SINTEF, IRIS and Det Norske Veritas, the event helped to continue the excellent cooperation enjoyed between Norway and Brazil.


Pictured is the Aker Solutions subsea tree, manufactured at corporate facilities in Curitiba, Brazil
© Aker Solution

Complete Value Chain
The Norwegian oil and gas cluster covers the entire value chain, from exploration and development, production and operation, to decommissioning. This industry is the largest employer in Norway, with over 80,000 personnel directly working with petroleum-related activities. StatoilHydro is already very much involved with its cutting-edge technology, and innovative cost-effective solutions. This is an excellent opportunity for Norwegian companies such as Aker Solutions, an innovative company investing into its Brazilian operations in order to increase manufacturing capacity ahead of the future wave of subsea developments in of presalt layer activities in that countries.

According to Marcelo Taulois, president of Aker Solutions’ subsea business area in Brasil, “We are doubling our manufacturing capacity to capitalize on the huge growth in the Brazilian market and to provide an even better service to key customers such as Petrobras, We have always had focus on local manufacturing and the development of local suppliers. This latest investment shows that we are continuing along that strategy and are dedicated to the continuous development of the Brazilian oil and gas industry.”

Demanding Drilling
The oil is located at 3,000-5,000 metres under the surface of the ocean, and will be an enormous technological and project challenge in order to make deliveries on time and to be able to coordinate the wide spectrum of activities that must be coordinated to succeed. Perhaps the most critical activity is the actual drilling of the well – and the conditions in the presalt areas will demand nothing but the most advanced technology.

Norwegian companies are poised and ready to contribute, taking advantage of the opportunities in the presalt environment off the coast of Brasil, underlined by major contracts such as the one signed between Sevan Drilling and Petrobras, the This second deepwater drilling unit contracted to Petrobras, and the third deepwater drilling unit to be built, owned and operated by Sevan Drilling.

The drilling contract will have a fixed term of six years with start-up by the end of 2011. Revenues which could be generated over the six year period are approximately USD 975 million, including a bonus arrangement and mobilization fee. The newbuilt drilling unit to Petrobras is based on Sevan’s proprietary cylindrical Sevan 650 design, as is the case also for the two other Sevan drilling units. All three Sevan deepwater drilling units are built at the same shipyard and utilize the same drilling package, thus significantly reducing risks to schedule and cost.

A range of Norwegian companies are looking to provide their drilling expertise, including Tomax, with anti-stall drill technology that minimizes bit stall and the stick-slip torsion effect. This Anti Stall Technology (AST) has been rigorously tested in demanding conditions in combination with drilling assemblies that have included 3D rotary, hard stator motor, under reamer and core barrel and has proven its ability to eliminate bit stalls and the consequent stick-slip syndrome.


The Ormen Lange model picture in Rio de Janerio
© Cato Meling/StatoilHydro


Norwegian Excellence

Success certainly rings true within the subsea sector, with Norwegian companies enjoying a large share of the global market in this area of operation. FMC Technologies are taking advantage of the opportunities present in Brazil, having has received an award to supply Petrobras with deepwater subsea trees and tie-in systems for 11 add-on wells at the Roncador Module 3 Field, located offshore Brazil (see the separate article related to the Norwegian subsea cluster).

Other Norwegian companies enjoying success within Brazilian presalt activities include BW Offshore, awarded a Letter of Intent (LoI) with Maersk Contractors for the installation of the Peregrino FPSO Mooring System and STP Buoy. Look to Norway for their strong role in the exciting presalt activities that will be taking place off the coast of Brazil.

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