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Interview

Adriano Novitsky, CEO Brazil Division subsea, Jose Jorge Araujo, SVP Latin America, Technip Brazil

Adriano Novitsky and Jose Jorge Araujo, CEO Brazil Division subsea and SVP Latin America of Technip, highlight factors that set Technip apart from its competitors, the company’s history in Brazil, and illustrate the bright path to the future they predict for this company as it takes up the slack and helps deliver projects that are key to Brazil‘s pre-salt ambitions. 

 

On the 6th of January, Technip received a contract for 100km of deep sea piping in the Santos Basin. What is Technip doing to ensure this project proceeds smoothly, and what production strategies are in place to ensure efficient delivery?

Adriano Novitsky (AN): This contact is in the Sapinhoá Norte field, one of the next major pre-salt fields to be developed offshore Brazil. The award of this contract is the result of Technip’s longstanding focus on high-level technologies. Four to five years ago Technip started to work towards excellence in equipment supply in the pre-salt arena. Petrobras acknowledged this high standard with the Sapinhoá Norte field contract, amongst other contracts.

Technip was able to provide designs customized to the difficult conditions experienced on the pre-salt fields. In terms of production, starting in March the pipes used on Sapinhoá Norte will be the first through our new facility in Acu.

The decision to construct this plant was taken three years ago, and in December 2012, construction began.

What additional facilities does this plant offer to Technip?

AN: This plant was conceived for production in the pre-salt fields, which includes large pipes with diameters of up to 22 inch and for great weight up to 500 tons that can then be loaded onto two vessels moored at the quay on site.

In terms of the world, this plant is a world leader in producing flexible pipe. This project uses gas injection top risers developed in France.

What advantage does Technip’s international experience and technological development process give the company here in Brazil?

AN: Historically, all of Technip’s R&D for pipes has originated in France—flexible pipe technology was first developed in France, at the French Institute of Petroleum. Here in Brazil, clients can, at times, be highly demanding, meaning we have had to further push our product development, allowing operation in deeper water depths and more exacting pressures for example.

Five years ago, our company decided to increase R&D capabilities in Brazil. The company has a technology center based across two sites at Vitoria, and also here in Rio de Janeiro. In Vitoria, there is a lab undertaking dynamic and static tests to evaluate the reaction of the pipe to conditions that might be found offshore. This pipe employs almost 70 staff. In Rio de Janeiro, another 50 engineers are doing R&D for specific Brazilian demands created by the pre-salt development.

Jose Araujo (JA): the nucleus of all Technip’s pre-salt research is here in Brazil. As a group, Technip is certainly a leader in the subject matter it works on.

AN: With particular reference to the gas injection top risers, there are no other competitors who can build equipment of this standard as the risers use our Teta profile technology, which is now being deployed in the pre-salt domain.

JA: Technip estimates itself to be five years ahead of the competition. However, there is no room for complacency; continuous improvement is needed.

What is Technip’s longer-term strategy, how important is Brazil to Technip, and how do you intend to retain leadership in the market?

AN: Technip operates in three areas in Brazil incorporating manufacturing, installation and logistical supply. The company has been growing since starting in Vitoria 25 years ago, and the manufacturing facility has grown significantly. With the pre-salt resource emerging, Technip realized the opportunity and moved to construct the new facility in Acu.

Looking to the future, Technip will supply four new PSLVs to Petrobras from the beginning of 2016, in partnership with DOF. In terms of capacity, two out of these four vessels will have a capacity of 650 tons that will allow the use of very heavy pipelines and equipment in utra-deepwaters. In the North East, resources are found under 3,000 m water depth. Larger vessels will help Technip deliver solutions in these extreme environments.

JA: The business arrived in Brazil in 1953 for effectively a spot market contract. When the company returned in 1977 to develop a field in the Campos Basin, it employed 20 personnel, mostly from France. Some of these pioneering employees are still working with the company today, on the P-76 project. Technip envisioned becoming an important player, and moved its engineering services forward to supplying pipes, fabricating equipment and utilizing a fleet of ten vessels. The company is building both onshore, offshore and subsea units, as well as engaging in research. Over 4,000 employees are pushing our enterprise forward.

Today, the complimentary nature of the three divisions here allows Technip to best leverage its strategic position with Petrobras and further develop new innovative solutions. Technip has a long-term relationship with Brazil. There are huge developments ongoing at the moment, and the company wishes to significantly increase its capabilities by 2020, because that is the date when the capacities will be at a stage far beyond today.

How has Technip coped with increasing capacity requirements for pre-salt equipment?

JA: Since 2003, when Technip was working on the P-52, Brazil’s first locally built semi-submersible, the company has continuously been working on one large project after another. The P-52 was followed by the P-51, then the P-56. These are all fully operational today. P-58 and P-62 occurred after that, and Technip is assisting Petrobras in achieving these platforms’ first oil with engineering throughout the production process. Last year, the P-76 platform became the most recent platform contract.

Technip also envisages more leased drilling units in the future, and will seek to supply products and services where possible.

The units that Technip has worked on, as listed above, have all seen increasing proportions of their construction fall under local content requirements (LCRs). This has happened alongside the reigniting of Brazil’s maritime industries and the reinvigoration of the countries supply chain. Our business is seeking to reinforce its abilities to construct, engineer, and procure with a particular emphasis on forcing down costs.

Brazil’s offshore ambitions can be developed by many technologies, but subsea production is one area causing particular excitement. What can Technip do to develop this manner of production?

There is a program, together with CENPES, developing a new oil separator for subsea use; this is the future. Using centrifuges, it can separate oil from water effectively, increasing the efficacy and efficiency of subsea production. Around the world there are 60 initiatives pushing the boundaries of subsea production—15 of these are in Brazil, led by Petrobras. Subsea modular production, in this respect, is led by Brazil’s giant.

Last year, Technip was hailed as the ‘best employer’ in Brazil. What factors create this positive work environment here in Brazil?

AN: Technip has been growing a great deal, and this creates many opportunities for staff, for promotion and also for new moves and openings—staff can find new, challenging and interesting roles within the company itself. It is important to create a good team spirit and ambiance at work; these factors all ensure staff stay motivated.

JA: Technip has a young engineer of the future program, which the company is very proud of. It is a very selective opportunity—around 20 aspiring engineers are brought into the program each year.

AN: This offers these young engineers a window to all sections of the business, in the factory and offshore, or on-board one of our installation vessels, for example.

JA: The program allows the trainees access to Technip’s international business and young engineers to enter positions in any of the 49 countries that the business works in. This is highly encouraging for employees early in their career. Technip also offers equal opportunities to everyone: the company has a high representation of females in management positions, for example. For this reason, anyone can achieve success within Technip.

Where do you see Technip in five years’ time?

AN: To qualify for pre-salt contracts and to have the ability to meet pre-salt demands is a huge challenge. Technip is confident it can match whatever demands asked of the company. With high quality and wide diameter pipelines, amongst other products, we have been able to keep leadership in this domain. Technology is the principle differentiator for our company and we will continue pursuing that in order to retain our market advantage.

Although the news frequently talks of Petrobras’ financial difficulties, orders are still progressing on schedule. The scale of the orders are immense, and so the next five years are very promising for Technip.

The orders for the pre-salt resources, however, will not only come from Petrobras. Technip is eagerly looking to all the important players in this market for further opportunities.

JA: Offshore, further standardization means Technip will be able to operate more efficiently as customers and suppliers will be able to match requirements and provisions faster. Our company wants to be part of that process.

Onshore, Technip wishes to be part of the move to create more premium refineries. This is important to change Brazil’s balance of import/export with regard to oil and gas supplies. Technip is ready, particularly with regard to green field refinery sites.

 

To read more interviews and articles on Brazil, and to download the latest free report on the country, click here.

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