GE nets $600m power deal for Sete drillships

Dynamic deal: GE to equip drillships with dynamic positioning systems similar to that of Swire offshore vessels, above

GE's Power Conversion unit has netted $600 million worth of contracts to supply propulsion, dynamic positioning, vessel automation and drilling systems under Brazil's ambitious rig-building programme, the company will announce today, Upstream has learned.

The contracts, awarded over a period of 12 months, are for the supply of propulsion systems on 22 of the 29 ultra-deepwater rigs being built for Sete Brasil, the entity that will own the units and charter them to Petrobras.

GE has invested heavily in the oil and gas sector in recent years, and its Power Conversion unit, built upon the 2011 acquisition of European conglomerate Converteam, is one of the platforms upon which the company is pursuing aggressive growth in Brazil and other key offshore markets.

The GE systems, sold to four different shipyard groups building for Sete Brasil, power, propel, navigate, position and control drillships, and drive the drilling process.

“One of our unique specialties is that we design and deliver complete integrated electrical and control systems packages in house. Our single source approach significantly relieves shipbuilders of much of the technical and commercial risk and effort associated with managing and co-ordinating multiple individual equipment suppliers,” said Paul English, marine business leader with GE’s Power Conversion unit.

Risk management has become a key element of the Sete Brasil orders, as most of the ultra-deepwater rigs will be built in brand new or recently built shipyards.

GE’s systems will be fitted on the seven “Espadon 200” drillships being built by Estaleiro Atlantico Sul (EAS) shipyard in northeast Brazil, covering electrical power, propulsion, drilling drives and dynamic positioning and control systems.

Integrated electric power and propulsion, drilling drives, DP and controls packages will also be supplied to the three new Gusto MSC PRD 12000 drillships that Brazilian contractor Ecovix-Engevix is building in the Estaleiro Rio Grande shipyard, southern Brazil.

The same integrated package was ordered by the Estaleiro Enseada do Paraguaçu (EPP) shipyard for six more Gusto 12000 drillships.

Keppel Offshore & Marine ordered thruster power, propulsion and drilling drive technology for six semisubmersible drilling rigs being built at the BrasFELS shipyard.

GE is currently supplying power generation, propulsion, dynamic positioning, and automations systems for eight new build PSV vessels that Singapore's Swire Pacific will use in Brazil. Four of these are being built at the EISA shipyard, in Niteroi. 

Petrobras is eventually expected to order up to 40 new rigs through 2020 as it strives to develop the pre-salt fields lying 300 kilometres off the coasts of Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro states.

The Brazilian government is calling for local content to be used as much as possible in the rigs and production platforms.

The Converteam acquisition endowed GE with two Brazilian manufacturing facilities, one located at Betim, Minas Gerais, and another at Campinas, Sao Paulo.

GE had already been expanding the capacity of its Power Conversion division in Brazil, paving the way for increased output of items such as rotating and electrical conversion machinery, motors, generators and drive train components.

A new 6000 square metre industrial plant will be opened at the Betim site later this month, GE said.

The contracts will also trigger a number of new technology transfers from GE Power Conversion in Europe, on items such as drilling drives and DP assembly components, said English.

Brazilian investments amount to about $20 million, including increased maintenance and servicing capacity at the company’s Macae base.

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