Voith has received a major order for the delivery of 60 variable-speed planetary gears type "Vorecon." The Vorecons will enter service in offshore production on the oil fields on the huge pre-salt cluster in the Atlantic approximately 300 km outside Rio de Janeiro. The operator is a consortium led by the Brazilian mineral oil group Petrobras.
Production of the first Vorecon at Voith in Crailsheim is already underway. Delivery of the first gears is scheduled for November 2012. With this order, which will run for several years, Voith is strengthening its leading position in the growing oil & gas markets of Latin America and the NAFTA region. The proportion of value creation in South America will rise throughout the duration of the project. Voith, active in Brazil for nearly 50 years, will build a new dedicated assembly hall with a test field at the location Sao Paulo.
The applied Voith technology is an important building block for the technically reliable and commercially viable exploitation of the oil reserves located off the Brazilian coast. By 2017, the consortium of operators is setting up eight floating oil platforms in the area for a total of USD 3.5 billion. These platforms are to extract the oil reserves contained in the so-called pre-salt cluster up to seven kilometers below the water surface.
The exploitation involves the penetration of a salt layer with a thickness of up to two kilometers, as well as a three-kilometer deep stone layer.
Regarding the exploitation of the pre-salt cluster, the operator is taking a new approach: a mixture of oil, gas and water is moved to the surface from the oil fields. The three constituents are then separated on special vessels. The crude oil is bunkered on ships, while the gas is returned to the subsea oil field and thus preserved for later utilization. In the past, most of the gas was combusted and therefore lost.
Compressors densify the gas for return transportation into the oil field. The compressors are driven by electric motors, whose speed is controlled by the Voith Vorecon. As a result, the gas has a constant pressure of up to 550 bar, independent of its highly varying density. Due to its compact, robust design and its high reliability the Vorecon is ideal for the rough conditions in the Atlantic Ocean.