Final assembly of one of the deepwater subsea control systems supplied by KOS to Petrobras' Hercules project.
Petrobras's deep-water requirements have provided welcome opportunities for Kongsberg Offshore (KOS) to deploy its subsea expertise in Brazil. It is currently supplying Petrobras with deep-water subsea control systems and developing deep-water riser concepts. "Brazil has for some time been an important market for us," says Carl Seenstrup, marketing manager, subsea.
The company's entry into the Brazilian market has been facilitated by its partner and owner, FMC Corporation. FMC has a long-standing cooperation agreement with local company CBV Industria Mecanica, which manufactures its products under licence.
KOS's subsea expertise has led to its involvement in Petrobras's deep-water development programme Procap. In a joint project with the Brazilian oil company the contractor is currently developing a drill-pipe riser (DPR) for workover and completion for Petrobras , to which it will supply two such riser systems.
A second order has followed for the development and supply of an early production riser (EPR). Both the DPR and EPR concepts are for water depths of 2,000 meters. The EPR is to be installed on Reading & Bates's production ship Seillean, which later this year will bring the giant Roncador Field on stream. The vessel will produce from well RJS-436, which, at 1,855 meters, will become the world's deepest producer.
The risers, including the subsea electro-hydraulic control modules, are under construction at KOS's headquarters in Kongsberg, Norway, while FMC Kongsberg Controls in Houston is building the surface part of the control system.
KOS's first substantial order from Petrobras came several years ago as part of an EPC contract won by CBV. This was to provide manifolds and subsea control systems for the second phase of the Albacora Field development, since renamed Hercules. KOS is responsible for the subsea control modules and associated control equipment, while the manifolds have been designed and built by CBV. Some of the equipment has already been installed and brought into operation. The water depth for this project is 850 meters.
Next came a similar EPC order for the Marlim Field, calling for two manifolds and seven subsea control modules, for installation in 800 meters of water. Again, some of the equipment has already been installed.
Seenstrup is optimistic that the opening of the Brazilian offshore sector to foreign oil companies will lead to an expansion of that market. Petrobras's activities have historically been restricted by a shortage of funds, but with the arrival of foreign capital, the number of projects coming to the market should increase.
KOS is well placed for this eventuality, having worked with many of the oil companies now keen to establish themselves in Brazil. It also has a string of deep-water references to its name from other areas of the world.
These include the delivery, currently under way, of five hinged-over subsea templates (HOST) to Mobil's Zafiro project in Equatorial Guinea, for installation in 630 meters' water depth.
Zafiro is the first application of the deep-water version of the HOST concept, which was developed by KOS in a $20 million joint industry project with Statoil, Mobil, Shell and Elf. This was accomplished in two phases - a guideline version for depths down to 800 meters, and a guidelineless version for depths down to 2,500 meters.
The HOST concept is a flexible one which treats the various elements of a subsea production system - template system, manifold system, wellhead and tree system, tie-in systems, control system and so on - as building blocks. They can be configured - and reconfigured - in different ways to suit the requirements of a particular development project.
In the case of Zafiro, the wells were originally to be set on the templates. But when Mobil decided it wanted to make some of the wells satellites tied into the templates, a reconfiguration of some of the building blocks made it possible to accommodate its wishes without incurring either delays or additional costs.
KOS has now offered the deep-water HOST for Petrobras's upcoming Bijupira Salema project.
Its deep-water successes elsewhere include Elf's Girassol project in Angola, where KOS recently won a contract to supply subsea production systems for 30 wells in depths of around 1,450 meters.
In the Gulf of Mexico the FMC/KOS team has a alliance with Shell Oil under which FMC supplies the subsea trees and manifolds and KOS the subsea controls. Under this agreement it is supplying a total of 11 subsea control systems to the Europa, Macaroni and Angus developments, in water depths ranging up to 1,200 meters. Another current order in the GoM is for subsea control systems for Exxon's eight-well Diana project in 1,500 meters of water.
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