In the last 12 months, GE has won contracts valued at more than $600 million to provide propulsion systems with customers in the pre-salt oilfield expansion off Brazil’s east coast. GE’s systems will power, propel, navigate, position and control drillships and also power and control the drilling process itself.
Today, GE is in the process of building systems for 22 of the 29 drillships for the current phase of the Brazilian oil and gas exploration by Brazilian energy corporation Petrobras.
“Our advanced power generation, propulsion technology, drilling drives, dynamic positioning (DP) and automation and control systems are being harnessed to improve today’s marine and offshore processes with cleaner, more productive vessels,” said Paul English, GE’s Power Conversion, marine business leader.
Four contracts won by GE in recent months related to the Brazilian pre-salt oil and gas exploration venture by Brazilian energy corporation Petrobras, include:
•Seven “Espadon 200” drillships to be built by Estaleiro Atlântico Sul (EAS) in Ipojuca, northeast Brazil will be supplied with electrical power generation, propulsion, drilling drives. DP and control systems from GE.
•Ecovix-Engevix will use integrated electric power and propulsion, drilling drives, DP and controls packages from GE for three new GustoMSC PRD 12000 ultra-deepwater drillships it is building in Rio Grande, in the south of the country.
•Enseada do Paraguaçu Shipyard will use a comprehensively integrated package of electric power, propulsion, drilling drives, DP and control systems from GE for six new ultra-deepwater drilling ships (also GustoMSC PRD 12000 design) it is building in Maragogipe, northeast Brazil.
•Keppel Offshore & Marine Ltd will use GE’s thruster power, propulsion and drilling drive technology for six new, semisubmersible drilling rigs being built for Brazil’s national oil company Petrobras. Keppel is a leading designer and builder of high-performance, mobile offshore rigs. Petrobras is searching for hydrocarbons up to 300 kilometers (km) off the coast of Brazil, in rock formations up to 5 km below the seabed and in water depths of up to 2,000 meters. The pre-salt layer holds an estimated 10–16 billion barrels of oil equivalent.
Exploration and recovery of these reserves are expected to require the construction of around 40 new drilling vessels between now and 2020. The Brazilian government is calling for local content to be used as much as possible in these vessels.
A large part of GE’s Power Conversion operations for production and support of systems for the pre-salt are located in Brazil. The company has operated manufacturing facilities in Brazil for more than 30 years, including production facilities in Betim (near Belo Horizonte), and in Campinas, 60 miles from Sao Paulo City, GE’s Americas center of excellence for medium- and high-voltage induction motors employs 1,200 people.