This paper presents the importance of deep water scenario for Brazil, the PETROBRAS Deep and Uitra- Deep Water R & D Program (PROCAP-2000) and the candidate fields for the deployment of subsea innovative boosting technologies (ESPS - electrical submersible pump in subsea wells, SSS - subsea separation systems and SBMS - subsea multiphase flow pumping system) as well as the problems associated with the flowassurance in such conditions. The impact of those innovative systems, their technological stage andremaining demands to make them available for deployment in offshore subsea areas, mainly in giant deepwater fields, are discussed and predicted.


PETROBRAS has been making important oil strikes in waters deeper than 400 meters in the past few years. This exploratory success is not only mainly reflected by the Albacora (1984) and Marlim (1985) giant fields but also the discoveries of other deepwater fields such as Salema, Bijupirzl, Barracuda and South Marlim - all of them located in the Campos Basin.

The reserves of such fields, located in waters of 400 to 1000 meters (classified as deep) and those in depths over 1000 meters (classified as ultra-deep), account for 64% of the total reserves in Brazil. The importance of deepwater technology is also stressed by the fact that over 65% of the potential oil discoveries (prospective discoveries) will be in deep and ultra-deep waters. These figures demonstrate that the production of its deepwater fields is a vital issue for Brazil.

In the search for the technological capability necessary to develop the deepwater fields already discovered, PROCAP (PETROBRAS?S Technological Development Program on Deepwater Production Systems) stood out. The six-year, US$ 70 million program - which ended in 1991 - allowed of coordinated and integrated actions together with suppliers, universities and R & D Centers at low cost within the time frame the Company demanded. As a major result, full technological capability to exploit oil fields at water depths (WD) up to 1,000 m was acquired. All that culminated with Marlim-4 well completion at 1,027 m WD in early 1994.

The excellent results obtained by that program, which ensured technological capability in deepwater, encouraged PETROBRAS to create a new one so named PROCAP-20001?2 (Technological Innovation Program on Deepwater Exploitation Systems), far more daring than the previous one, which intends to change the current way of producing oil in such water depths. This five-year, US$ 56 million program is further expected to cut about 30% down on our development costs.


The new program has been implemented to give continuity to the efforts of the first program so as to improve Brazilian technological skills in deep waters. Its objectives are the following:

  • development of technologically innovative projects aiming to reduce investment and operational exploitation costs (300 to 1,000 m WD), enhance final recovery of oil and gas, besides extending the useful life of wells located in waters over 300 meters deep.

  • development of offshore drilling and production technologies for the oil and gas exploitation in ultra-deep waters (1,000-2,000 m WD).

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