Brazil’s Longest And Deepest Rigid Subsea Pipeline Begins Operation

November 2011, Vol. 238 No. 11

The Consortium operating Block BM-S-11, formed by Petrobras (65% – operator) in partnership with BG Group (25%) and Petrogal Brasil S.A. – Galp Energia (10%), has opened up the Lula-Mexilhão gas pipeline.

The system connects the Lula field to the Mexilhão platform, located in shallow Santos Basin waters. With a capacity to take up to 10 million cubic meters of gas per day, the pipeline will transport gas produced in the Pre-Salt Cluster.

Lula-Mexilhão is an unprecedented milestone for Brazilian engineering. Extending over 216-km, 18 inches in diameter and operating at a pressure of 250 bar, it is the deepest and longest undersea pipeline ever laid in Brazil.

It begins 2,145 meters below sea level where it is connected to the Cidade de Angra dos Reis FPSO vessel in the Lula field, and terminates at the connection to the Petrobras’ Mexilhão platform, at a depth of 172 meters. Of strategic importance to Santos Basin logistics, the Mexilhão platform is the largest fixed production unit in Brazil.

The new pipeline will also play a part in taking natural gas from the platforms involved in developing phase one of the Santos Basin Pre-Salt operations. The Lula-Mexilhão gas pipeline is linked to other Petrobras System facilities, including the pipeline connecting the Mexilhão field to the Monteiro Lobato Gas Treatment Unit (UTGCA) in Caraguatatuba (state of São Paulo) for transporting gas to the mainland, and the Caraguatatuba-Taubaté pipeline which transports processed gas to the domestic market distribution network.

Integration of the BM-S-11 Consortium’s Lula-Mexilhão gas pipeline with Petrobras’ existing facilities will be crucial for speeding up Brazilian Pre-Salt oil production.