GE's Power Conversion business (GE) is proving to be an ideal partner for builders and operators of drillships and semi-submersibles. In the last 12 months, GE has won contracts valued at more than $600 million to provide propulsion systems with customers leading the pre-salt oilfield expansion off Brazil's east coast. GE's systems will power, propel, navigate, position and control drillships and also power and control the drilling process itself.
Today, GE is in the process of building systems for 22 of the 29 drillships for the current phase of the Brazilian oil and gas exploration by Brazilian energy corporation Petrobras.
"Our advanced power generation, propulsion technology, drilling drives, dynamic positioning (DP) and automation and control systems are being harnessed to improve today's marine and offshore processes with cleaner, more productive vessels," said Paul English, GE's Power Conversion marine business leader.
"Vessel builders are coming to GE because it has proven equipment and systems, it has considerable experience in supplying equipment for use in deep domains, it is a flexible engineering partner with very strong technical credentials and has a record of supplying on time and within budget. One of our unique specialties is that we design and deliver complete integrated electrical and control systems packages in house - our single-source approach significantly relieves shipbuilders of much of the technical and commercial risk and effort associated with managing and coordinating multiple individual equipment suppliers."
The four most important contracts won by GE in recent months related to the Brazilian pre-salt oil and gas exploration venture by Brazilian energy corporation Petrobras, include:
Petrobras is searching for hydrocarbons up to 186 miles (300 kilometers) off the coast of Brazil, in rock formations up to 5 km below the seabed and in water depths of up to 6,562 feet (2,000 meters). The pre-salt layer holds an estimated 10–16 billion barrels of oil equivalent.
Exploration and recovery of these reserves are expected to require the construction of around 40 new drilling vessels between now and 2020. The Brazilian government is calling for local content to be used as much as possible in these vessels.
A large part of GE's Power Conversion operations for production and support of systems for the pre-salt are located in Brazil. The company has operated manufacturing facilities in Brazil for more than 30 years, including production facilities in Betim (near Belo Horizonte), and in Campinas, 60 miles from Sao Paulo City, GE's Americas center of excellence for medium- and high-voltage induction motors employs 1,200 people.
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