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Lorenzatto: Down market gives Petrobras opportunity to rethink its business

By Linda Hsieh, Managing Editor

Despite facing tough times, Petrobras will sustain its focus on the presalt, on automation and technologies, and on operational safety, Rudimar Lorenzatto, E&P Executive Manager, said.
Despite facing tough times, Petrobras will sustain its focus on the pre-salt, on automation and technologies, and on operational safety, Rudimar Lorenzatto, E&P Executive Manager, said.

Cost reductions and investment pullbacks have become par for the course in the current low-price environment. For Petrobras, this has meant having to adjust its portfolio in order to “do more with less,” Rudimar Lorenzatto, E&P Executive Manager, said at the 2016 IADC International Deepwater Drilling Conference on 15 March in Rio de Janeiro. By the end of this year, the Brazilian NOC is projected to have approximately 30 floaters left in its fleet. This will represent a significant reduction from the 60 floaters it had on contract just three years ago, Mr Lorenzatto said. “In this context, contract discounts are a reality. The unemployment is a sad side effect. However, it also represents an opportunity to rethink our business to have more safety and efficiency.”

Looking to the next few years, Mr Lorenzatto said, Petrobras will work to enhance its business performance by reinforcing the three pillars of productivity, integrity and HSE. Oil industry integration will be critical to this effort, and he cited the recent BOP agreement announced by Diamond Offshore and GE Oil & Gas as an example of the collaboration that is needed. Risk management is another focus area. “We are organizing our risk specialist groups in Petrobras to speed up this discipline,” he noted, adding that more work is also needed on human reliability, technological initiatives and mindful leadership.

“Zero accidents is a target for Petrobras, but we know the industry is becoming increasingly risky. We have to focus on identifying hazards and risks to mitigate them,” he said. The company is looking to the concept of ALARP as a way to understand how to operate in a controlled risk scenario. “To mitigate the risks, we have to manage the integration, the availability and the reliability of the existing barriers. It’s also crucial to develop this understanding by the people involved – by that I mean the well designers, the drilling contractors, the well servicing contractors and managers at the operational levels,” he said.

Improvements have already been achieved with the cooperation of drilling contractors, Mr Lorenzatto acknowledged. Over the past three years, Petrobras has reduced the average duration of drilling and completions activities in the pre-salt by 31%. Rig downtime has also gone down, from an average of 10.2% in 2013 to 7.7% in 2015. “Petrobras didn’t get these results alone. It was only possible because of a strong partnership with drilling contractors and service companies. It was only possible because we aligned our strategies to a better business approach,” he said.

He also noted the important role that contractors are playing in a new operational safety plan, which was developed with their input to begin with. “Their participation is essential for its success,” Mr Lorenzatto said. “In the oil industry, we must find a balance between safety and operational performance. Contractors and operators have an important role in this process, and partnership and alignment can help us move forward.”

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