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Petrobras to begin wind measurements and studies in pre-salt region

Studies will provide new data analysis insights to support potential offshore wind projects in Búzios and Mero fields

Published in 12/01/2024 at 14:27:51

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Photo: André Motta de Souza / Petrobras News Agency


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Petrobras, Shell Brasil, TotalEnergies, CNPC, and CNOOC, along with the Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS), have initiated a series of offshore wind measurements in the pre-salt region. Initial data collection will begin in the Búzios field in the Santos Basin. Later this year, more data will be collected, but in the Mero field. The goal is to gather novel and high-quality data on the wind behavior in the region to support future offshore wind projects in the pre-salt region. The study is part of the Ventos de Libra Project, an investment of R$ 8 million that aims to develop technology for new research projects and create methodologies for wind analysis, and assess the technical feasibility of installing wind facilities in the area.

Petrobras is currently the company with the greatest potential in offshore wind generation projects in the country, as its capacity has been endorsed by Ibama. On top of that, the company invests in research and development with an eye to innovative offshore wind projects. One of the promising proposals is Ventos de Libra, whose ultimate goal is to assess the potential integration between offshore wind systems and oil production projects in the pre-salt region.

"This is another initiative aimed at developing knowledge and expertise in the offshore wind segment, which holds great potential in Brazil. This time, it involves important partners in the pre-salt region and renowned academic institutions," adds Jean Paul Prates, President of Petrobras.

Risk reduction for the installation of wind projects

Wind data is essential for the structural design of wind turbines and the characterization of the wind regime in a region. But there’s more to this study. The project aims to develop scientific advancements in wind modeling, data measurement methodology, model enhancement, and the reduction of uncertainties and risks for the implementation of floating wind projects in ultra-deepwater regions. The findings will be used in the next stages of development to evaluate the implementation of wind turbines associated with oil and gas production systems in the region.

The way Joelson Mendes, Petrobras' Director of Exploration and Production, sees it, "the technologies employed in this multidisciplinary project will be capable of assessing offshore wind potential in the pre-salt region and contribute to a higher technology standard in Brazil.” He also adds that “offshore wind projects constitute a significant scientific and technological challenge, heightened by the conditions in the pre-salt region, approximately 200 km off the coast, at water depths of up to 2,000 meters.

Maurício Tolmasquim, Director of Energy Transition and Sustainability, emphasizes that "projects like this can pave the way for us to move forward in the decarbonization of our activities, in line with our Strategic Plan."

Assessment of wind potential

The wind measurement station was installed on the FPSO (Floating Production, Storage, and Offloading) vessel P-75, located in the Búzios block in the pre-salt region of the Santos Basin. The technology consists of a remote sensing measurement system using Lidar (Light Detection and Ranging). The equipment also includes other sensors for studies aimed at improving offshore wind data measurement methods. The data will be collected and transmitted directly from the FPSO P-75 to the Petrobras Research, Development, and Innovation Center (Cenpes) and will be assessed over a period of 3 years. The project includes plans for installing another piece of equipment later this year on another pre-salt platform, in the Mero field.

“Measurement campaigns are not new for Petrobras. A decade ago, the company initiated feasibility studies for the implementation of offshore wind activity, as it installed the first anemometric tower to measure wind characteristics in the Brazilian sea. This tower was installed on a platform in shallow waters off the coast of the state of Rio Grande do Norte," adds Carlos Travassos, Petrobras' Director of Engineering, Technology, and Innovation. The first measurements in the Mero field began in 2019, as a short test, on board the FPSO Pioneiro de Libra.

Multidisciplinary project

The Ventos de Libra project is led by two women: Cristiane Lodi, who coordinates the project for Petrobras and the Libra consortium*, and Dr. Adriane Prisco Petry (UFRGS), who heads the NIEPIEE (Center for Integration of Studies, Research, and Innovation in Wind Energy). The Center, at UFRGS, features experts from the Instituto Federal de Santa Catarina (IFSC) and the Universidade Federal de Rio Grande (FURG). In total, the entire multidisciplinary team of NIEPIEE brings together around 50 researchers, and experts from the Petrobras Research, Development, and Innovation Center (Cenpes).

The Libra Consortium is operated by Petrobras (38.6%) in partnership with Shell Brasil (19.3%), TotalEnergies (19.3%), CNPC (9.65%), CNOOC (9.65%), and Pré-Sal Petróleo S.A. – PPSA (3.5%), who manages the Production Sharing Agreement in the Libra Consortium and represents the Union in the non-contracted area.

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