Petrobras: Still opportunities for new subsea suppliers


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Subsea technology and well integrity were among the topics discussed during seminars and workshops organized by Norwegian stakeholders during OTC Brasil 2015.

On Monday October 26, 2015, Intsok and Innovation Norway organized a seminar on well, drilling, subsea and pipeline integrity and the two new ANP regulations being implemented for the area.

The National Petroleum Agency (ANP) in Brazil is in the process of preparing a new and strict regulatory framework including guidelines on well and drilling integrity and subsea systems integrity, including pipelines, and the new regulations were presented at the workshop. The oil companies Petrobras and Statoil shared how they prepare for the implementation and Intsok partners presented solutions corresponding to the new regulations.

According to Gulbrand Wangen, the Intsok regional director Brazil, the new regulations represent a shift in philosophy where the industry and the operators now assume responsibility, much like the way it works in Norway.

«We´ve had a very positive dialogue with Brazilian regulatory bodies, and they have found inspiration in the regulations we have on the Norwegian continental shelf. At this workshop we manage to bring several stakeholders together – the regulatory body ANP, the oil companies and Norwegian suppliers, and our primary goal is of course to show the technological solutions and developments that Norwegian suppliers can offer the Brazilian industry», Mr. Wangen says.

In the first session, ANP representative Carlos Onofre Cabral talked about the new Brazilian well and drilling integrity regulation and how it will be implemented. Solutions ensuring well and drilling integrity were also presented.

In the second part of the seminar, ANP regulatory specialist  Priscila Raquel Kazmierczak, talked about the subsea and pipeline integrity regulation and how it will be implemented. The new resolution entered into effect on October 13, 2015,  and the companies now have two years to adapt to the new rules before ANP initiates different enforcement activities

«The main goal is to present human life, the environment and guarantee the safety of operations, and the new regulations cover the whole life cycle of a subsea system», Mrs.  Kazmierczak explained.

Mr. Maurício Diniz (in the photo), general manager of subsea engineering of Petrobras, talked about how Petrobras is preparing.

«We will be ready in two years and have several preparatory actions in place, like the adaption of our subsea system databases to comply with the demands in the new regulation», Mr. Diniz said.

The president of ABESPetro, Mr. Paulo Martins, talked about some of the challenges to operational safety and integrity management. ABESPetro is an association of about 50 suppliers and service providers to the oil industry. Ultra deep waters, the presence of sour service fluids, extreme weather conditions, the low oil price followed by the pressure to cut costs,  bigger and more complex systems with a greater number of sub-systems and components were among the challenges he listed. But according to Mr. Martins, the local subsea industry is prepared for meeting the new demands in the new set of regulations.

«There are no capability constraints as I see it, but all parties need to commit, and proper planning is key, and we need to keep discussing best practices of integrity management», he said.

Intsok director Gulbrand Wangen says Intsok has had a bridge building function in this process and he describes the ongoing dialogue with ANP as very positive.

«ANP needs to be aware of the technologies and solutions, and the new regulations being implemented is something very positive. Intsok has succeeded in bringing different stakeholders together in a way that serves all parties very well, both regulators, operators and suppliers», Mr. Wangen says.

New markets
On Wednesday October 28, 2015, subsea technology in Norway and Brazil was discussed in another seminar organized by Innovation Norway and the Bergen based subsea cluster GCE Subsea.

But while the Intsok seminar focused on new regulations for the sector, the GCE Subsea seminar featured presentations of companies in the Fram market entry project that are looking for business partners or other ways to enter the Brazilian market.

GCE Subsea CEO, Mr. Owe Hagesæther introduced the cluster to the audience.

«It has been a challenging subsea year, and GCE Subsea as an organization is trying to adapt to address the needs of the industry», he said.

Crossover, multidiscipline engineering and standardization are key words, and Mr. Hagesæther also emphasized how subsea technology is needed in other industries, like aquaculture, environmental monitoring and offshore renewables.

«New markets means new application of the subsea competence, and in a long term perspective we are looking to go beyond oil and gas», he said.

Keynote speakers were Leandro Pereira, senior researcher at Statoil, and Alexandre Vieira, strategy analyst at Petrobras.

Leandro Pereira talked about the Statoil Research Center Rio and about subsea technology development in Brazil. Subsea is one of the priorities of the center.

«We are responsible for the development of the subsea factory down to 3000 meters, and I believe Brazil is a good place for this, as we find both suppliers and academia here», he said.

Alexandre Vieira welcomed the initiative by the Norwegian companies working on their entry strategy to Brazil through the FRAM project. In his presentation, Mr. Vieira explained how the companies need to register in the Petrobras corporate registry to be able to participate in Petrobras bids and procurement processes. He admitted that the current scenario is challenging to Petrobras.

«We need to review our operations and we need to look for technological solutions that will result in cost reduction and productivity improvement.»

That being said, Mr. Vieira welcomed the interest the Norwegian companies are demonstrating.

«It is important for Petrobas to have new players taking part in the bids. Increasing competitevity is fundamental and there are opportunities, not only for the big suppliers but also for smaller and medium-sized companies like you», he said.

New technologies
In separate sessions, the companies belonging to the FRAM Market Brazil project, had the chance to present themselves to the seminar.

Representatives from the companies are in Brazil to increase their knowledge about the market, and the FRAM Market Brazil project is a competence program and the companies are all working with subsea related technology.

Mr. Øyving Storhaug represented Niras, which offers induction bending of pipes, and already has clients in Brazil.

Metas and managing director Olav Birkeland is looking for business partners in Brazil, and offers a «subsea eye», that can be used in leak detection, environmental monitoring and ocean observatories.

Calora Subsea produces dermic isolation for flexible pipes and is also looking for a business partner in Brazil, in order to start production locally. According to Calora representative Roar Vasbø, 60 percent of the revenues in 2014 comes from Brazil, making Brazil a very important market to the company.

Fjell Subsea Products and founder Kristian Karlsen is in Brazil for the first time, introducing a series of couplers, ball valves and connectors, and is already in dialogue with some local companies.

Trine Lise Bjørvik in Neodrill presented a can-based technology for the installation of the top part of the subsea well.

«Neodrill is a pre-rig construction company that can cut an average three days from your well plan, making it a cost effective solution for offshore subsea development wells.

Migris is another newcomer to Brazil, and in his presentation, CEO Øyvind Sylta explained the technology the company has developed – a software of simulation and interactive 3D models that geologists can use to assess exploration risk.

Ulla Sommerfelt and Paal Holter represented EGGS Design at the seminar. EGGS Design is a multidisciplinary design consultancy, with expertise in technology and in designing digital and physical products and services.

«We hope to be able to bring value to Brazil and also find inspiration here», Mrs. Sommerfelt said in her presentation.

NLI Subsea offers turnkey subsea products and is actually Norway´s biggest subsea component producer with 40 years of experience.

«We see unique opportunities in Brazil as the Brazilian market is set to become the largest offshore market in the world», managing director Ingvald Torblå said.

A project that GCE Subsea is working to set up, was also presented. The projects is working to develop a clean and efficient offshore power by hydrogen used fuel cells, and while Statoil and Shell are among the industry partners, Petrobras has also shown interest.

By Runa Hestmann, NBCC journalist