GE Develops New Flexible Pipe Technology to Withstand Harsh Subsea Environment of Brazil’s Santos Basin
As Brazil works to extract its vast offshore oil and gas reserves found in pre-salt formations, one of the most challenging locations is the Santos Basin, where operators face a number of complex production and transportation conditions. GE Oil & Gas (NYSE: GE) has introduced innovative flexible pipes to help customers overcome these challenges by developing new materials for the pipes required to bring hydrocarbons to the surface.
During the past three years, the GE Oil & Gas team in Niterói has developed new flexible pipe technologies to meet the specific conditions of the Santos Basin oil. As a result, the company now is one of only two accredited providers of advanced flexible pipes to be used in this location.
GE’s new flexible pipes feature important advances as each pipe layer is made with a specific material to ensure the safe and reliable transportation of oil and natural gas in the Santos Basin. Traditional flexible pipes are already highly engineered technologies that must be able to handle extreme pressures, temperatures and currents. The new pipes developed for the Santos Basin build on these characteristics by adding new materials specifically engineered to withstand the more acidic environment. Altogether, about 70 professionals worked on the flexible pipe technology project, which the GE team is continuing to enhance through more research and development.
GE’s latest flexible pipe innovations build on the company’s 2011 acquisition of Wellstream Holdings, which enabled GE Oil & Gas to further grow in the floating production, storage and offloading offshore segment that underpins deepwater oil and gas production activities in Brazil and around the world. The business specializes in the engineering and manufacturing of high-quality flexible risers and flowline products for oil and gas transportation in the subsea production industry.
To drive additional innovation, GE is establishing a new $250 million Global Research Center in Rio de Janeiro, which will host a subsea systems laboratory that will focus on developing more solutions for the pre-salt layer and ultra-deep water exploration.
Brazil is a key growth market for GE Oil & Gas, with the country expecting investments to reach about $320 billion by 2021, according to Energy Research Company. In addition to the future subsea systems laboratory, the company also has announced a total of $262 million in investments to expand its equipment production facilities in Niterói and Macaé—both in Rio de Janeiro—and Jandira in São Paulo.