Petrobras tech exec tells OTC what keeps Brazil on top in deep water

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Rudimar Lorenzatto speaks during the Topical Breakfast: A Turning Point for Petrobras at the 2019 Offshore Technology Conference in Houston. Photo by © OTC/Brandon Wade 2019

Petrobras’ chief technology and production development executive officer says Brazil’s national oil company keeps technology high on its agenda. Rudimar Andreis Lorenzatto spoke at a “topical luncheon” on Day 1 at the 2019 OTC in Houston. Petrobras is the world’s largest deepwater producer.

Lorenzatto said the company’s technological targets include: digital twins to help optimize production, subsea hi-sep for CO2 and gas separation, safety supervisory systems using intelligent visual analytics, well plugging technology with heat emission to reduce abandonment costs in mature fields and autonomous inspection focused on safety as fewer human divers are used.

“Digital transformation is already happening in people’s lives and in the business world. In Petrobras, we can say it’s a company strategy rather than a technical challenge,” Lorenzatto said. “We have a strong belief that this digital transformation and digital technologies can significantly change our process and activities, bringing more efficiency and improving results.”

Deepwater technology is among the items on Petrobras’ agenda as the company reaches a turning point, having chopped down debt as part of a massive divestment program and continued focus on value creation and efficiency. Other items include building and maintaining a strong exploratory portfolio, focusing on presalt, improving digital transformation efforts and strengthening business partnerships.

Petrobras, the company behind the closely watched ultradeepwater Libra Field in the Santos Basin offshore Brazil, aims to produce about 1.2 million barrels per day in the presalt area this year and about 1 MMbbl/d from its deepwater assets. Lorenzatto called its breakevens attractive and pointed out Wood Mackenzie analysis showing a less than $40 per barrel breakeven for Brazil deep water and less than $7/boe presalt lifting costs.

Using technology, repeatability and scale, the company was able to lower the ramp-up days for presalt projects by 42% in the last seven years, he said. Improvements included, for example, reducing the number of well construction days by 51% in the Buzios Field since 2014.

This came as the company brought more platforms onstream – including seven in the last 11 months – marking a new phase for Petrobras’ upstream segment, he said. The P-68 platform, the first for the Iara area, is nearing completion with entry set for second-half 2019.

In addition, Petrobras aims to step up exploration spending following an industrywide slowdown. Lorenzatto said Petrobras’ exploration capex will rise to about $11 billion by 2023. The Campos Basin will see an infusion of about $20 billion in planned capex over the next five years, mainly for projects in areas such as the Marlim and Roncador fields, he said.

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