(EnergyAsia, December 27 2011, Tuesday) — Brazil, the world’s 11th largest oil producer, provided the climax to a year of strong performance for Singapore’s two leading upstream oil and gas contractors, Keppel Offshore & Marine Ltd and SembCorp Marine.

According to the Economist magazine, state-owned oil company, Petrobras, has laid out a capital expenditure programme of US$224 billion from 2011 to 2015 as Brazil aims to become among the world’s top five oil producing countries by 2020.

Keppel O&M said its subsidiary, Fernvale Pte Ltd, has secured a US$809 million contract from Urca Drilling BV, a subsidiary of Sete Brasil Participaç’es SA, while Sembcorp Marine’s subsidiary Jurong Shipyard has begun building its first overseas integrated yard in the Brazilian state of Espirito Santo.

The contract brings Keppel O & M’s new orders for the year-to-date to S$9.8 billion. (US$1=S$1.3).

Keppel O& M said it will design and construct a semisubmersible drilling rig based on its proprietary DSSTM 38E design for delivery in the fourth quarter of 2015. The rig will be used to support the exploration of Brazil’s estimated 50 billion barrels of deep-sea oil and gas reserves.

With improved capability and operability, the DSSTM 38E is designed to meet the stringent requirements of the deepwater ‘Golden Triangle’ region, comprising Brazil, Africa and the Gulf of Mexico. It is rated to drill to depths of 10,000 metres below the rotary table in 3,000 metres water depth. Measuring 108 metres in length, the rig has a main deck size of 73 metres by 73 metres, and an operational displacement of 45,000 tonnes.

The DSSTM 38E has accommodation facilities to house a crew of up to 160 men, and both vertical and horizontal riser storage. The vessel is designed to stay in position via eight Azimuthing thrusters and the configurations comply with the American Bureau of Shipping Dynamic Positioned System (DPS-3) requirements.

Joao Carlos Ferraz, CEO of Sete Brasil, which specialises in chartering drilling rigs for Brazil’s pre-salt exploration, said:

“Keppel designed rigs have an established track record of operating efficiently in their respective fields and we are confident that the DSSTM 38E rig will be well suited for offshore Brazil.

As we grow our fleet of drilling rigs to meet the demands of our customers, partnering reliable shipyards which can deliver quality rigs on time and within budget is an imperative for us.”
Chow Yew Yuen, Keppel O&M’s managing director and President of the Americas said:

“We are proud that our proprietary DSSTM 38E design has been chosen by Sete Brasil as their first semi. It is an enhancement of the design from our first two drilling rigs built for Brazil, Gold Star and Alpha Star. The two rigs are now successfully operating in offshore Brazil and we are confident the DSSTM38E will follow in their footsteps.

“We are pleased to be able to partner Sete Brasil in developing drilling solutions for Brazil’s deepwater oil fields. Having delivered several key projects such as the P-52, P-51 and P-56 that have increased Brazil’s production capabilities, we look forward to developing rigs that will further boost Brazil’s offshore drilling resources.

“Having a proven shipyard in Brazil also ensures that we are able to satisfy any local content requirements. With a suite of proprietary deepwater drilling rig designs and more than 30 years of experience participating in Brazil’s oil and gas industry, we aim to provide cost-effective and value-added propositions for Brazil’s offshore and marine industry.”

Jointly developed and owned by Keppel’s Deepwater Technology Group and Marine Structure Consultants, the DSSTM 38E design is in the league of some of the world’s most advanced drilling semisubmersibles. The two DSSTM38 semis, Gold Star and Alpha Star, previously delivered by Keppel FELS to Brazil’s Queiroz Galvão Óleo e Gás (QGOG), are operating efficiently without disruption in offshore Brazil for Petrobras.

Keppel claims to operate one of the most comprehensive shipyards, BrasFELS, in Brazil. The yard’s current projects include the repair and upgrade of Noble’s two Brazil-based drill ships as well as the construction of the first Tension Leg Wellhead Platform (TLWP), P-61 for the Papa-Terra field in Brazil’s Campos Basin for Petrobras and Chevron.

Earlier, Sembcorp Marine said its subsidiary, Jurong Shipyard, is developing Estaleiro Jurong Aracruz, a wholly-owned, locally incorporated Brazilian shipyard, to strengthen its foothold in Brazil as part of its global hub strategy.

Strategically located near the hydrocarbon-rich Basin of Espirito Santo, one of Brazil’s giant pre-salt reservoirs, Estaleiro Jurong Aracruz occupies an 82.5-hectare site with 1.6 km of coastline in the municipal of Aracruz. The state of Espirito Santo is Brazil’s second largest oil producer.

The US$550 million shipyard will be developed in stages with completion scheduled for end-2014. Its facilities will include a 120m x 380m drydock, a one-km berthing quay, ancillary piping facilities and steel fabrication workshops.

Estaleiro Jurong Aracruz will have capabilities to undertake construction of drillships, semi-submersible and jackup rigs, platforms, supply vessels, the integration of FPSOs and topside modules fabrication, in addition to the traditional activities of drilling rig repairs, ship repairs, and modification and upgrade works.

The ground-breaking ceremony, held on December 19 2011, was officiated by the Governor of Espirito Santo, Renato Casagrande, and witnessed by Sembcorp Marine’s chairman Goh Geok Ling as well as directors Mohamed Hassan Marican, Lim Ah Doo and Ron Foo.

Wong Weng Sun, President and CEO of Sembcorp Marine and managing director of Jurong Shipyard, who was also at the event, said:

“We are here at the right place and right time.  The ground-breaking for the development of Estaleiro Jurong Aracruz will provide a clear signal to the Brazilian Oil and Gas market that Sembcorp Marine is completely committed to continue its services to them, in their country.

“With our two decades of experience servicing the Brazilian oil and gas industries, Estaleiro Jurong Aracruz will substantially strengthen our ability to meet our clients’ needs especially in developing the recently discovered giant pre-salt oil and gas reservoirs.

“The Brazilian oil and gas market considers us a major player. We have successfully completed a total of 18 oil and gas exploration, production and storage platforms for Brazilian oilfields. These platforms contribute approximately half of Brazil’s daily oil output.”