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Brazil becomes net exporter of crude oil

27 August 2008

Huge amounts of oil and gas are stored under the seabed at the southeastern coast of Brazil. Approximately 80% of the embedded resources consist of oil which is why Petrobras has already ordered ten new production platforms. In order to reduce the dependency on imported natural gas, Petrobras has set up Plangas, a strategic plan for increasing the extraction volume for the Brazilian market by 39 million cubic metres per day until 2010.

Brazil becomes net exporter of crude oil
Brazil becomes net exporter of crude oil

Nine Voith turbo couplings have already been installed on the Petrobras PRA 1 platform. And recently, Petrobras also ordered five Voith planetary gears (Vorecon RWC 12-11 F 7) for gas treatments on pipelines.
Among the current projects of Petrobras are the production, the transport and the treatment of oil and gas from the Santos basin. From the new Mexilhão oil platform, oil and gas from at least six wells are to be extracted and forwarded to the new UTGCA gas processing plant in Caraguatatuba. The coastal town is strategically well positioned between Brazil’s two largest consumer centres. The six wells are situated at depths varying from 320 to 550 metres. Their horizontal spread is approximately one kilometre, and they are about six kilometres deep. The reserves of the Mexilhão gas field are estimated to be some 93 billion cubic metres of natural gas.

In a first step, the plant in Caraguatatuba will be able to treat approximately 15 million cubic metres per day. The natural gas is forwarded under pressure to the town limits of Taubaté, where it is connected with the Campinas-Rio gas pipeline by a 100-kilometre conduit. For processing the gas and subsequently releasing it into the pipelines, Voith Turbo delivers five RWC 12-11 F 7 Vorecons. This Vorecon type consists of a hydrodynamic torque converter, a fixed planetary gear and a revolving planetary gear. The RWC also includes a hydrodynamic variable-speed coupling with a clutch. Each of the five Vorecons is rated at 7.8 MW.

The customer decided in favor of the Vorecon, as the compressor is driven by an electric motor. In this combination, the mechanical solution offers significant advantages over a frequency inverter and is also more economical than a gas turbine. The application involves two smaller Vorecons – the largest is rated at 33 MW – but the specifications are demanding and correspond to those of offshore platforms. After all, the conditions along the coast are very similar and require robust technology. The Vorecon allows high efficiencies across wide speed ranges and has a reliability rate of 99.97%.

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