Petrobras and Curtiss-Wright Enter into Partnership

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(Petrobras, 6.Jun.2024) — To improve the efficiency and safety of deep-water oil and gas activities, Petrobras and Curtiss-Wright have entered into a technological cooperation agreement to design a fully electric, highly reliable subsea pumping system with far less dependency on the production platform. The new equipment produced by the partnership will reduce vessel costs, enable production through long subsea flowlines connecting the platform to the well, and help revitalize mature fields. Upon successful prototype testing, scheduled to begin in 2026 in the Jubarte and Espadarte fields in Campos Basin, it is expected to be available to the market as early as 2028.

The system Petrobras and Curtiss-Wright developed will pump raw oil and gas mixtures in a depth of up to 1,500 meters of water. The equipment will use hermetically sealed (canned) motors, which are more reliable and effective than today’s models’ mechanical seals, and reduce unplanned interruptions and consequent production losses. The partnership combines Petrobras’s deep-water oil and gas distribution know-how acquired over decades of sea exploitation with Curtiss-Wright’s experience a benchmark in design and manufacture of hermetically sealed electric motors for severe service pumping applications.    

“The strategic cooperation between Petrobras and Curtiss-Wright symbolizes the combination of these solid and renowned companies’ mastery of technologies and knowledge. This new project’s success will positively impact the entire oil and gas industry, opening up new and better production opportunities. This partnership reinforces Petrobras’s commitment to innovation and technological development to enhance our activities continuously,” added Petrobras’s Engineering, Technology, and Innovation Director, Carlos Travassos.

“We are excited to be working collaboratively with a leading and experienced end-user of downhole pumping and mudline boosting systems,” said Lynn M. Bamford, Chair and CEO of Curtiss-Wright Corporation. “These efforts will allow us to apply our proven canned motor technology expertise to this adjacent market, thereby enabling an all-electric subsea production system, while providing an opportunity to bring tremendous value to Petrobras.”
    
Pumping system

In pumping systems used to produce oil and natural gas, pumping machines serve to add the energy to the reservoir fluid so it can rise up to the production platform under higher flowrates compared to the ones without such addition of energy.

The pumps available on the market today have an average life of roughly three years, and after that, each change costs up to US$ 70 million. This new technology is expected to last twice as long, at least six years, cutting down costs and boosting improving reliability. 

“This new pumping system is a pioneer in the market. There are similar motors, including Curtiss-Wright’s, but this may be the first sealless mudline pump to process oil. Petrobras is proud to help develop such a technology, which will allow us to operate better and profit more,” observed Director Travassos.

Additionally, the specialists of Petrobras and Curtiss-Wright are studying an evolution of the prototype under development—five times more powerful. This more advanced version will have a life of at least ten years, with one machine capable of pumping two wells or more simultaneously while reducing costs and increasing productivity.

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