Brazilian President Visits P-53 and Dry Dock in Rio Grande

On April 3, the president of the Republic, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, visited, in the city of Rio Grande (RS), platform P-53, which is its final construction phase and is part of the Federal Government's Growth Acceleration Program (PAC). The president then inspected construction work at the dry dock, a Petrobras project that will be used to build and repair oil production platforms.

Brought from Singapore, the P-53 arrived in the Rio Grande Port on September 4, 2007 to undergo its final construction phase. The work is expected to be wrapped-up in the fourth quarter of 2008. The platform will then be installed in the Campos Basin, in the Marlim Leste field, at a site where water depth is 1,080 meters. The P-53 will be capable of producing 180,000 barrels/day of oil, 6,000,000 cubic meters of gas, in addition to treating and injecting 245,000 cubic meters of water per day and generating 92 Megawatts of power. In total, $1.3 billion were invested in the platform.

The P-53's construction work has had a relevant role in the Brazilian economy, since the minimum national content index for for materials and services was achieved. This process moves several sectors of the Brazilian economy in several states, particularly Rio Grande do Sul, São Paulo, and Rio de Janeiro. The construction work currently generates more than 3,200 direct jobs in Rio Grande, while another 10,000 indirect jobs were created in the region as a result of the project.

The construction of the new platform, segmented in modules, was contracted from Keppel Shipyard, which was in charge of converting the hull and of assembling the world's biggest turret (the tower that receives the both flexible production, injection and control lines and the anchoring lines); SBM, responsible for the turret supply project; Rolls-Royce, which manufactured the generation module; DRVA, in charge of the compression module; and QUIP, responsible for the oil separation, gas treatment, and utility modules, in addition to being in charge of integrating all of the modules.

The first dock in Brazil to offer conditions for simultaneous construction, conversion and/or emergency repair services for production platforms and drilling rigs, the Rio Grande dry dock, slated for completion in February 2009, will generate up to 9,000 direct jobs when in full operation. This project currently generates about 1,000 direct jobs. With increased work volume, though, it is believed this figure will grow to nearly 1,500 work positions as of July. The dry dock will get R$439 million in investments.

To Brazil, and to Petrobras, having a dry dock is a strategic issue, since as of yet the Country does not have facilities where it can maintain and repair major semi-submersible platforms. For this reason, these services have been carried out abroad, a fact that not only incurs in significantly higher costs, but keeps jobs and income from being created in the internal market.

The infrastructure in Rio Grande covers an area of nearly 500,000 square meters, with a dry dock measuring 350 x 130 meters in area and 14 meters deep, allowing the construction of any type of platform. Workshops are being built at the site to allow the processing of up to 12,000 tons of steel per year, in addition to two fitting-out quays, one of which 150 meters long, while the other 350 meters in length.

The portico, the main dry dock device, is scheduled to be installed in April. This is an 80-meter tall steel structure with a clearance of 130 meters that allows loads weighing up to 600 tons to be lifted in the dock. The project also includes two offshore module construction courtyards measuring some 100,000 square meters each.

The first platform built in the dry dock will be the P-55, construction work for which will be kicked-off in 2008. The job is scheduled to be completed in late 2011. Depending on the volume of work, up to 3,500 direct jobs may be generated in this period.

By building the dry dock, Petrobras will achieve the project's main objectives: turning the region into a Naval Pole and revitalizing the local good and service industry and, thus, generating direct and indirect jobs. This strategy of driving naval and offshore construction in Brazil is in conformity with the government's guidelines and with the National Oil & Natural Gas Industry Mobilization Program (Prominp).