By Joanne Liou, associate editor
In the next four years, Petrobras will invest approximately $79 billion in well construction, which accounts for 36% of Petrobras’ total investments, an executive with Petrobras said. These investments are expected to bring great opportunities for the industry but also great responsibilities. “The demand for huge investments in well construction leads to the use of a large fleet of floating rigs, which is necessary for our operational scenario dominated by deep and ultra-deepwater fields,” Rudimar Lorenzatto, E&P Executive Manager for Offshore Wells Construction, said last week in his keynote address at the 2014 IADC International Deepwater Drilling Conference in Rio de Janeiro.
Based on Petrobras’ experience, “we can say that an efficient management system is the foundation for high service quality,” Mr Lorenzatto said. He expanded on four pillars for drilling contractors in offshore well construction to consider that will lead to high-quality service: safety, environment, well control and operational performance.
Data that Petrobras collected in 2013 for high-potential incidents (HIPOs) indicate that safety performance varies among different drilling contractors and between rigs operated by the same drilling contractor. For example, one drilling contractor has eight rigs with an average 2.5 HIPOs, while another drilling contractor has two rigs with an average 10.5 HIPOs. “Some management systems and associating aspects are not performing properly, demanding adjustments,” Mr Lorenzatto said. “We still have to carry out serious work together to drive down HIPOs for achieving a higher stage in terms of safety. Exchanging lessons learned might be an interesting approach, being capable of speeding up the process.”
The second pillar is the environment, in which Petrobras is targeting zero-spill conditions. Throughout 2013, the NOC recorded the monthly volume of discharge of hydrocarbons to the environment and was able to improve and reach the zero-spill target by year’s end. However, the company sees a need to exchange lessons learned with their drilling contractors to accelerate the implementation of best practices everywhere. “It is necessary to assure that actions taken for achieving good KPI related to the environment will receive increasingly more support and commitment from the drilling contractor management system,” Mr Lorenzatto said. “Considering the operator perspective, I would like to highlight that Petrobras is being progressively more rigorous about this topic.”
Well control is the third pillar, which is divided between building competence and emergency preparedness. Initiatives, such as the Well Control Institute that IADC recently established, provides industry standards that certify and verify that personnel are properly trained, skilled and competent in their jobs, Mr Lorenzatto explained. In 2013, Petrobras trained and certified nearly 700 professionals in well control. “We are strongly committed to building competence as a way to improve performance.”
Lastly, rig-related NPT has an impact on the fourth pillar: operational performance. Internal assessments at Petrobras revealed that in 2013, subsea BOPs accounted for 60% of all equipment-related NPT. As operations are continually shifting to deeper waters, the industry must step up its efforts to improve operational performance – specifically reducing rig-related NPT. “The industry has to join efforts to introduce significant reliability enhancements for improving productivity,” Mr Lorenzatto said. “Based on Petrobras’ experience, we believe reliability-centered maintenance or similar concepts are ways to achieve a much better performance.” Similar to the HIPOs data, operational fleet also varies, he noted, highlighting the opportunity to form best practices and reach a higher level of performance across the board.
As an operator, Petrobras recognizes that it is part of the equation when it comes to successful well construction operations, he said. “We believe that sharing lessons learned, databases and best practices is the way to achieve sustainable improvements,” Mr Lorenzatto stated. “Those practices have potential to drive the industry to a much higher stage of performance.”