Petrobras carries out unprecedented deck-mating operation
RIO DE JANEIRO - Petrobras completed the deck-mating operation for the P-55 semisubmersible platform at the Rio Grande Naval Hub (state of Rio Grande do Sul). This operation involved coupling the platform's topside deckbox with the hull. The deck-mating procedure entailed lifting the deckbox, a technique never used before in Brazil, and represented a record achievement in terms of the weight of the structure, and the height to which it was lifted.
The lifting system consisted of 12 towers connected to 24 hydraulic jacks, each with a capacity of 900 tonnes. It was designed to raise the deckbox to a height of 47.2 m above the bottom of the shipyard's dry dock. Twenty-four sets of 54 steel wire ropes were used to lift the structure. Each wire rope was 18 mm in diameter and 60 m long, resulting in a total length of around 77 km.
The modules will be installed, and the system integrated, in the coming months. After this stage has been completed, the P-55 will be transported to the Campos basin's Roncador oil field, off the coast of Rio de Janeiro. It is expected to start operating in September 2013. At full capacity, the P-55 is capable of producing up to 180,000 bopd and 6 MMm3 of natural gas per day.
Petrobras CEO Maria das Graças Silva Foster was at the Rio Grande Naval Hub during the deck-mating operation, together with the company's directors. "The people of Rio Grande do Sul and all Brazilians have good reason to be proud of this achievement," she said. "The sheer scale of the operation is amazing. This is the first-ever platform built at the Rio Grande Naval Hub, and largest semi-submersible platform ever built in Brazil."
Maria das Graças also highlighted the uniqueness of the operation and the potential of the naval hub. "This is the first time a deck-mating operation, coupling the modules and hull, has ever been done using this technique. The deckbox, weighing 17,000 tonnes, was raised over 40 meters and lowered onto the hull. The usual procedure is to lower the hull. The P-55 and the eight replicant FPSOs, to be built here, will be Brazilian and international benchmarks."
Replicant FPSOs are a new generation of production vessels designed to simplify projects and standardize equipment. Serial production of identical hulls will not only make the construction process faster and allow for economies of scale, but also optimize costs.
The P-55's hull was developed by the Petrobras Research Center (CENPES). It is the result of several years' engineering research and development, in partnership with Brazilian universities and based on entirely Brazilian technology, representing another milestone for the oil industry in Brazil.