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Petrobras, Sete and Keppel select electrical solution for new drilling rigs

GE to power pre-salt semisubmersible drilling vessels

The Brazilian national oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA (Petrobras), Sete Brazil Participaçoes SA (Sete) and its contractor Keppel Fels do Brazil SA (Keppel) have selected GE’s Power Conversion electrical solutions to power and propel the first series of six semisubmersible drilling rigs.

Petrobras is the operator imposing the key requirements of the drilling rigs to operate in the pre-salt oil and gas fields conditions.

Sete is the chartering company investing in new drilling rigs for ultra deep water operating conditions and providing its services to the operators

Keppel is the contracting shipyard designing and building the drilling rigs based on its proprietary DSS 38E design.

Petrobras will lease the semisubmersible drilling rigs to their owner Sete.

Sete is contracting Keppel for the design and construction based on Petrobras’s pre-salt operations requirements.

These first series of six semisubmersible drilling vessels are part of the forty units planned by Petrobras to develop the pre-salt oil and gas fields between 2012 and 2020.

These pre-salt oil and gas fields are located between 200 and 300 kilometers from the Brazilian shore covering a 800 kilometers distance from north to south across the Santos Basin, Campos Basin and Esperito Santo Basin.

From actual estimations, these pre-salt oil and gas fields may hold 10 to 16 billion barrels of oil equivalent (boe) reserves.

To develop these pre-salt oil and gas fields, Petrobras engaged a first exploration and development program of $224 billion capital expenditure on the period 2011 to 2015

Located in ultra deep water, up to 3,000 meters deep, in the pre-salt rocks as below the earth crest, these oil and gas fields lie up to 5,000 meters below the seabed.

Because of these challenging conditions, Petrobras needed to design a new generation of drilling rigs.

Based on a semisubmersible structure, Petrobras, Sete and its contractor Keppel opted for the electrical solution to power and propel the drilling rigs.

GE electrical solution for more reliability and safety

This electrical solution adopted on the drilling rigs will apply to:

 – Power generation

 – Propulsion

 – Thursters

 – Drilling equipment

Petrobras, Sete and Keppel adopted the electrical solution as it provides significant advantages on the conventional mechanical solutions:

 – More flexibility to place the equipment on the vessel, such as power generators, electrical panels, motors and drives

 – Higher safety and easier redundancy in separating compartments.

 – Redundant electrical power and control cabling installation

 – Prevant total backout of the propulsion and power supply system

 – Safety functions decoupled from other operations to guaranty the control of the vessel

For the six vessels, GE was awarded a $120 million order, meaning a cost of $20 million per vessel for this electrical solution.

In addition to the performances and safety requirements, Petrobras requests a minimum content for all its $224 billion capital expenditure pre-salt exploration and production program.

At the drilling rigs level, Sete is working according to 62% local content in Brazil.

To reach this level on the six semisubmersible drilling rigs for Petrobras, Keppel uses its local Keppel Fels do Brazil shipyard through its Keppel Offshore and Marine UK branch.

GE Power Conversion in charge of the electrical solution will also execute a part of its $120 million order through its Brazilian production units to meet these local content requirements. 

According to the schedule agreed between Petrobras, Sete, Keppel and GE, the first electrical semisubmersible drilling rig should run into commercial operations by 2015.

For more information and data about oil and gas and petrochemical projects go to Project Smart Explorer

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