Petrobras Spotlighted Pre-Salt Challenges During Brazil Offshore Trade Fair


During the Brazil Offshore: The Next Frontier international conference, held from June 16 to 18, in Macae (RJ/Brazil), Petrobras presented the strategies it intends to adopt to overcome the technological and logistic challenges it will face to develop the accumulations discovered in the Brazilian pre-salt layer.

During the event, the lecturers highlighted the importance of getting to know the Brazilian pre-salt reservoirs better, as they are composed of carbonatic rocks which are poorly known in the world. Additionally, they highlighted that the biggest hydrocarbon accumulations found in the Santos Basin's Pre-Salt Pole are located in ultra-deepwaters, below a layer of salt that in some areas is upwards of 2,000 meters thick. These characteristics make the province unlike any other and represent a rather significant technological challenge for the industry.


According to the lecturers, the difficulties to be faced to develop production in this area require, among many other things, the definition of the best geological model, the development of the most economical and appropriate well geometry for the reservoir, and the assurance the oil can flow through the pipelines.

To anticipate these solutions, the lecturers mentioned that in late 2007, Petrobras created a multidisciplinary program that will follow-up on the area's several development phases. In partnership with Brazilian and foreign universities, in addition to with the supplier chain, the program will be in charge of conceiving and developing technologies to make using the new discoveries feasible.

Contracting Strategies

In addition to the technological challenges, during the conference, Petrobras also presented the new contracting strategies it intends to adopt to ensure the supply of goods and services that are essential to develop the pre-salt.

In the event, company technicians showed that, with the boom in the production projects foreseen in Petrobras Strategic Planning for the 2009-2013 period, one of the several solutions that are under analysis is contracting suppliers as early as possible. In this line, Petrobras hopes to take advantage of the scale economy that its robust scheduled project portfolio will generate. As a result of this, it will be able to negotiate prices and sign long-term agreements with suppliers by means of competitive bidding programs and strategic partnerships, when applicable.

During the presentation, the lecturers stated that the major volume of service contracts, in addition to the thousands of items to be procured, represent a unique opportunity for the development of the Brazilian offshore industry. They also said that the company hopes to continue driving a significant participation of local content in the oil and gas projects and to attract global companies to the country to increase the range of products that might be manufactured in Brazil. According to them, a huge challenge lies ahead not only of the company and its partners, but of domestic and foreign suppliers who intend to boost their businesses in Brazil.

Technological Partnerships

The pre-salt projects will also require, the lecturers say, the development of sophisticated technologies and efficient tools -- many of which do not exist in the market yet -- to make having access to increasingly complex prospects feasible.

To develop this technological apparatus, one of the strategies will be to establish partnerships between Brazilian and foreign suppliers aiming to drive exchanges among and the incorporation of international expertise, when available.