Offshore Activity

Petrobras negotiates additive on contract for pre-salt equipment in search of safety

Petrobras is negotiating an addendum to the contract with the supplier of equipment TechnipFMC aimed at providing more safety for connections used in the pre-salt production, after two failures in gas-injected pipelines that alerted to possible risks in the country’s important oil producing area, revealed The oil company told Reuters.

The oil company is now demanding a dual coating on the connections of these flexible submarine pipelines, also called risers, after it closed a $ 300 million contract with TechnipFMC in August 2016 to supply the equipment.

The additive, whose value is still being negotiated between Petrobras and TechnipFMC, became necessary after two incidents in the connection of gas injection pipelines after the contract was closed between last year and the beginning of 2017.

In the first case, the riser was faulty and failure was detected when the company was collecting the duct, while in the second the production was immediately paralyzed.

These episodes in the fields in Lula and Sapinhoá, the two main pre salt oil producing fields of Brazil, ignited the yellow light in the technical area of ​​the company, which began to investigate the flaws and monitor the connection of the other pipelines used in the pre-salt.

However, Petrobras’ Director of Production and Technology Development, Roberto Moro, minimized the risks of an environmental accident caused by leaks, stating that the problems occurred in gas risers.

“The risk (from an environmental accident) is minimal and close to zero, because we are talking about gas riser rather than oil, and there is also no risk for production,” he told Reuters when asked about the issue.

“It was a timely issue and no problem was detected at another riser, but we continue to monitor,” Moro said.

Part of the troubled risers, who suffered water infiltration, fell to the bottom of the sea. They were connected to the FPSO Cidade de Angra dos Reis (Lula) and Cidade de São Paulo (Sapinhoá) platforms.

Corrosion

According to Petrobras, in both cases, there was a failure of corrosion by CO2, more susceptible in risers that carry gas, not in those used to transport oil.

From the problems in the gas injection pipelines in the wells, the Brazilian oil company decided to reinforce the equipment that will be used in the future production of the pre-salt, which already accounts for almost half of the oil and gas extraction in Brazil.

However, risers with double protection at the joints, to prevent further infiltration of seawater, will initially be used only in new operations.

“There are no replacements for pipelines that are already in operation in the pre-salt …”, said the executive.

The additive is in the negotiation phase and there is no definite deadline for its formalization, while TechnipFMC itself investigates the case, having hired specialists in CO2 corrosion to specifically analyze this problem.

The original contract with TechnipFMC, which manufactured the dropped risers, provided for the delivery of 80 kilometers of flexible pipelines to be delivered over five years.

TechnipFMC said through its press office that it will not comment on the information.

Accordingly, contractual issues have to be seen with the contractor, in this case, Petrobras.

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