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UK Subsea Tools to Spur Brazil’s Pre-salt Exploration

22 October 2012

Sonardyne International to supply 6G subsea technology for the development of Petrobras’ Guará-Lula oilfields offshore Brazil

A UK subsea technology provider will see its equipment service Brazil’s oil and gas giant Petrobras and oilfield services firm Subsea 7 in the upstream development of the giant pre-salt discoveries made in the Santos Basin offshore Brazil, the UK firm said in a press release on Tuesday.

UK-based Sonardyne International Ltd’s 6G subsea acoustic positioning technology will be used in the development of the Petrobras-operated Guará-Lula oilfields offshore Brazil.

Guará and Lula are some of the giant and promising pre-salt discoveries operated by Petrobras in the Santos Basin, Brazil, in ultra-deep waters over 2,100 metres deep and 300 km from shore.

Named after former Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, the Lula field was described by the latter as "Brazil’s second independence” and by sitting president Dilma Rousseff as the country’s "passport to the future”.

The equipment includes Sonardyne's ROVNav 6 LBL transceivers, Compatt 6 transponders and the latest addition to the 6G product range, the iWand, all of which improve acoustic performance, according to the firm.

The order is part of a "high value contract” hashed between Sonardyne and marine equipment rental company Seatronics, who is hiring the equipment to service firm Subsea 7 in the Guará-Lula NE project.

Petrobras in early 2011 awarded Subsea 7 a USD 1bn engineering, procurement and commissioning (EPIC) contract, called the Guará-Lula NE project, for the development of both oilfields. Subsea 7’s role in the project also includes the EPIC phases of two "uncoupled” riser systems featuring large submerged buoys supporting 27 steel catenary risers.

According to data released by Subsea 7 at the time, the project was "the largest engineering, procurement, installation and commissioning (EPIC) SURF contract awarded in Brazil”.

"With the [technology] kit already ear-marked for Subsea 7’s milestone Guará-Lula NE development, supported by Seatronics Brazil, we know that the project will benefit from the reliability of the 6G product platform,” said Phil Middleton, Operations Manager at Seatronics.