The technologic challenges the pipeline sector, for the oil and gas production from the pre-salt reservoirs are directly related to the conditions found in depths exceeding 2.000 meters of water depth. Such challenging production environment will require, for instance, high thermal insulation coatings, capable of maintaining or minimizing the temperature reduction of the produced oil, without however, increasing significantly the weight of the risersand their costs. Another obstacle will be the presence of aggressive fluids, the occurrence of sulfur dioxide, CO2, high salinity water, which combined with oil and gas induces a marked wear and corrosion at the risersand pipelines currently available.
Besides, the flow from the platform towards the mainland, whenever the option is through pipelines, brings the constructive challenge for pipelines which will have to be settled down at depths above 2.000 meters and for distances higher than 200 Km.
“In a segment that requires production units with useful life above 20 years, the option by the use of new materials or already known materials which represent an innovation whenever applied to the pipeline sector – such like the use of carbon fibers in riserswith internal diameter above 8 inches – are fundamental for the integrity and long life of the facilities, allowing the production, both regarding the flow and the injection of CO2 or other fluids, with safety and reasonable costs”, explains Raimar van den Bylaardt, President of the Executive Board of the Pipeline Technology Center - CTDUT.
A Technology Center for the development of the pipelines segment, CTDUT has participated in researches related to the thermal insulation of risers, in a partnership with PUC-Rio, and, at the moment, is considering the construction of new laboratories and the appropriateness of some of its facilities in order to meet the pipeline community demands facing the pre-salt challenges.
“We are prepared for the future opportunities, which will come up with the pre-salt”, he says. “We have the technology, capacity, teaching and research entities, and companies supplying goods and services which are able to participate of this challenge”, he concludes.
Production increase will require greater transportation and distribution systems–
Brazil is living an important moment, of great expectations. With the pre-salt, the country is no longer an adjuvant in the global oil industry scenario. “This is a moment of transformations and great challenges. The oil and gas production increase will require greater transportation and distribution systems. At the moment, with the inauguration of the Rio de Janeiro-Belo Horizonte Gas Pipeline, Gasbel II, we count on a network with 22 thousand kilometers of operational pipelines. Such number must grow, taking into account that we must reach something around 3,9 million barrels per day in 2020”, considers Raimar van den Bylaardt, President of the Executive Board of the Pipeline Technology Center - CTDUT.
According to the executive, although the country is the 16th today in the world ranking, the extension of the local pipeline network is still small if we take into account the massive production of the oil and mining sectors, main demanders of this kind of transportation. The European Union, with territory extension smaller than Brazil’s, operates with 800 thousand kilometers of existent pipelines.
“The pipeline is an economic, safe and little polluter products transportation system. The network growth will ask for increasingly complex technologies for an effective and risk free operation, expanding opportunities and boosting the sector companies”, he states.
CTDUT starts up, in 2011, a pilot unit for cathodic protection tests
CTDUT starts up, by the first half of 2011, a pilot unit for Cathodic Protection Tests, Research and Evaluation of Anticorrosion Coatings for Pipelines in the country.
The Pilot Unit is being constructed in an approximately 1000 m2 area and will allow the conduction of tests and simulations of field conditions, through the installation of buried pipelines, lined with different types of anticorrosive coatings, protected by a cathodic protection system made out of rectifiers, anode beds and test points.
Budgeted at R$3,5 million, the facility became viable upon the signature, in October 2009, of a cooperation agreement with Petrobras, that will assume the costs of the unit by using the budget of the R&D (Research and Development) Investments Clause provided at the concession contracts.
External corrosion is one of the causes of leakages in buried or submersed pipelines. The protection of the structures against the corrosive process is presently made by the combination of the uses of Mechanical Coatings and Cathodic Protection Systems.
“With such structure we will be capable of simulate technical conditions pretty close the ones in the field, making possible the test of new technologies and new practices, besides the study of today existent situations in order to improve the comprehension of possible problems and their solutions”, explains Mauro Barreto, vice-President of CTDUT and member of the Brazilian Corrosion Association (ABRACO).
The main objective of the facility is to give support to R&D projects of companies, universities and technology centers. “The field of application of this technology is very wide, comprising from transportation companies and distributors to companies which have buried or maritime pipelines, besides the ones that offer services and equipment for cathodic protection”, considers Barreto.
On top of that, the facility will totally meet the requirements of NBR 43:000.03-001 Standard (Criteria for the qualification and certification of cathodic protection professionals) from ABNT/CB-43 – Brazilian Corrosion Committee, being, therefore, fundamental for the adequate training of people to work in this area.
Another initiative involving the pre salt was the creation, in August, of the Valves competence Network.
The Network will allow Brazilian suppliers to conform to the Technical Standard NBR 15827:2007 – Regulations for the Evaluation of Conformity of Industrial Valves for Installations for Exploring, Production, Refining and Transportation of Oil Products. “The idea is that the network becomes a space for the discussion of a laboratory infrastructure for the pre salt”, says Raimar van den Bylaardt.
Are participants of the Network, besides CTDUT, the Federal University of Paraná (UFPR), the Federal University of Alagoas (UFAL), the Brazilian Association of the Machinery and Equipment Industry (ABIMAQ), the Research and Technology Development Institute of the Machinery and Equipment Industry (IPDMAQ), the Technology Research Institute (IPT), the Brazilian Oil, Gas and Biofuels Institutes (IBP), the National Technology Institute (INT) and COPPE/UFRJ.
A technology center oriented to the development of the pipelines segment, CTDUT has real scale installations and research laboratories for testing products, equipment and systems used at the pipelines network. The infrastructure offers technical and economic advantages both for the suppliers and the operators, which can, for instance, test new technologies without risks for their operations.
Among the products and services offered, are the pig tests, the pipeline integrity, flow meters and leakage detector tests, coatings, pumps and valves tests, which make CTDUT an adequate space also for demonstrations, training and professional capacitating.
Inaugurated in May 2006, CTDUT was born through the initiative of Petrobras, Transpetro and Pontifícia Universidade Católica of Rio de Janeiro (PUC-Rio). The Center counts on expressive number of members, including companies, entities, universities, teaching and research institutions. Its facilities were built with resources from the Oil and Gas Sector Fund (CTPetro), bound to the Ministry of Science and Technology (MCT), through the Study and Projects Financer (FINEP).
Helena de Aguilar– Pipeline Technology Center – CTDUT
+55 (21) 2777-8524 / 9444-9585