By Stephen Eisenhammer, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Sevan Drilling, the Norwegian drilling contractor, celebrated the arrival of a new platform Monday which will increase the company’s presence in Brazil’s offshore industry. At an event held aboard the yacht Pink Fleet, Sevan Drilling visited the new rig currently docked in Guanabara Bay, by the Rio-Niterói bridge.
The rig arrived Sunday having sailed the increasingly busy 10,000 mile sea route from China where it was constructed. The floating platform, which will be used to drill both exploratory and developmental wells, is set to begin operations in June.
The rig is under contract with Petrobras for six years, with an option for a four year extension. It will most likely operate in the pre-salt of the Santos Basin, situated just over 300 kilometers south off the coast of Rio de Janeiro.
The Santos Basin is over 350,000 square kilometers large with an estimated oil reserve of between thirty and fifty billion barrels. Discovered in 2007, it was one of the most exciting oil discoveries of the new century and is set to turn Brazil into an oil superpower.
Sevan Drilling is a relatively new company, founded in 2006, who is making increasing advances into Brazil’s offshore industry. “The arrival of the new rig is an exciting development. It is the second such rig in the world and the first was very successful. It will double our revenues,” Heitor Gioppo, Brazil Vice President of Sevan Drilling, told the Rio Times in an interview.
Gioppo explained that the success of the first rig, which has drilled three wells in just under a year since it became operational, lies in its consistent performance and lack of down time. It’s safety record is also impressive, he added.
Two more rigs are currently being built with further contracts with Petrobras in the early stages of development, he said.
Gioppo said his view of Brazil’s investment situation had not been affected by the ongoing legal proceedings against the U.S. number two energy company, Chevron, and the drilling operator, Transocean. “As time goes past things calm down and get better,” he said, adding that Brazil remains “the biggest market for ultra deep water drilling.”
The new rig, known as the Sevan Brasil, features a cylindrical design with an extended “skirt” along the base which reduces vertical movement at sea. Around 120 people will operate the rig which has the capacity to drill up to 3,000 meters below the sea floor.
The platform is equipped with a gym, sauna, dining room and lounge areas. It is fully self-sufficient purifying its own water and treating the platform’s sewage. Expatriates operating the rigs work for one month on, one month off, with local inhabitants working two weeks on, two weeks off. “The whole thing’s like a hotel,” one engineer said.