Petrobras selects UOP technology for offshore gas processing in Brazil

Technology from Honeywell's UOP has been selected by Petrobras to process natural gas aboard up to eight floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessels, the companies said on Thursday.

The UOP Separex membrane systems will be installed on new FPSOs that will operate in the Lula oil field, Each Separex membrane system will remove carbon dioxide and water from as much as 6 million standard cubic meters/day of natural gas.

“The continued selection of our gas processing membrane systems extends a long business relationship with Petrobras,” said Rebecca Liebert, vice president and general manager for gas processing and hydrogen at UOP.

“UOP Separex technology offers high hydrocarbon recovery, a solvent-free process and low operating costs.”

Located in the pre-salt development area of the Santos Basin off the coast of Brazil, the Lula field is operated by Petrobras in partnership with BG Group (UK), Repsol (Spain) and Galp (Portugal).

Petrobras awarded the units in October 2011, and UOP is slated to deliver the units between 2013 and 2017. Commissioning will take place between 2014 and 2017.

The new UOP Separex systems for Petrobras join two units already installed aboard FPSOs owned and operated by a third party in the Tupi and Guará fields.

UOP, which opened a sales office in Rio de Janeiro in 2011 to better serve the growing oil and natural gas sectors in Latin America, will fabricate a significant portion of the membrane system locally in Brazil.

Separex technology upgrades natural gas streams by removing carbon dioxide and water vapor, according to the company. These contaminants must be removed to meet the quality standards specified by pipeline transmission and distribution companies, as well as end users of the natural gas.

Within systems designed to a compact footprint, Separex membranes are the thinnest in the industry, yet have the longest membrane life in natural gas service. Separex membranes eliminate the need for solvents, which could spill and damage the marine ecosystem.

The UOP technology operates with very high on-stream factors for difficult-to-treat gas streams in remote locations, the company says. Systems can be used onshore or offshore, at the wellhead or at gathering facilities.

To date, more than 130 of UOP's membrane systems have been installed worldwide.

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