Specialized offshore services provider Petrus Group was founded in Macaé, on the North Coast of Rio de Janeiro, the acknowledged oil capital of Brazil in 2009, during the oil boom caused by the early pre-salt discoveries. The company has since grown steadily in Brazil, while also gaining a global footprint with bases in Brazil, West Africa and Southeast Asia. Petrus has been able to adapt its services to changing market demands and has persevered through the oil crisis that slowed oil and gas business during the last four years.
Diverless UWILD Operations
Underwater operations remain one of the costliest inspection, maintenance and repair (IMR) activities on ships, rigs and other vessels, even considering the savings from not going to drydock. Petrus has integrated a range of techniques in order to significantly reduce the time exposed to risk and reduce costs to deliver classification society inspection requirements. The Petrus Diverless UWILD (underwater inspection in lieu of drydocking) Methodology has been in development since 2012 to provide a safer and more cost effective alternative to diving, specifically targeted at class societies' requirements for mobile offshore drilling unit (MODU) and mobile offshore production unit (MOPU) vessels. The UWILD method consists of the provision of close surveys and inspections using a wide range of innovative solutions to meet client demands without recourse to the use of divers. Within the Diverless UWILD package, Petrus can perform internal inspection of critical inlet and outlet valves, such as those responsible for ballast water tanks inlet, engine cooling, among others. These valves are constantly degraded by seawater and microorganisms that can affect the efficiency of the valve seal. Diverless UWILD inspections provide video evidence of their actual operating condition and valuable data points to base decisions for replacement/repair investments.
The Diverless UWILD method uses hot tapping technology to open a permanent window into the pipeline allowing a full HD flexible borescope camera to provide internal examination, monitor inlet and outlet valves during operation or to check their sealing efficiency. Owners and class societies can make informed decisions on which valves may need intervention, repair or replacement. For any valves that need repair/substitution, Diverless UWILD technicians are on hand to perform the change out and hydro-test all valves beforehand. From the outside of the vessel the Petrus team uses dedicated multipurpose hybrid remotely operated underwater vehicles (ROV) to cover all visual inspections required by class and flag state authorities. They also use a compact mini ROV, able to be hand carried, to attend emergency demands offshore, such as for damage, repair and failure surveys, while the asset is at its operating depth. The captured images allow real time evaluation of the conditions of rudder, shaft, stern, thrusters, HiPAP, propeller blades, underwater openings, sea chest gratings, discharges, hull thickness and ICCP systems and general hull condition. Petrus is an ABS-, DNV-, BV- and Lloyds-recognized external specialist service provider.
Petrus' multipurpose hybrid ROV allows unparalleled flexibility and efficiency in UWILD operations. Able to perform standard ROV observation fly-by inspection of the hull, hull cleaning, hull thickness gauging and ICCP testing this can be a game changer in diverless solutions. One form of hull cleaning used by Petrus is cavitation cleaning technology, which involves a high pressure steam of cavitation bubbles that is directed towards the hull and removes all biological growth, without significant impact on antifouling coating.
Subsea IMR Operations
In February 2018 French subsea equipment supplier ECA Group and Petrus announced the signing of a cooperation agreement for subsea robotics services to IOCs. After evaluating the market since June 2017, the parties now offer the oil and gas sector, inspection and survey services using an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV). The A18D AUV is designed and manufactured by ECA Group, to dive up to 3,000 meters depth and work autonomously for 24 hours. It can carry out inspection and 3D mapping missions, revealing seabed conditions before or after construction/installation of an underwater structure, pipeline or cable and also before, during and post decommissioning of subsea installations. As part of this contract, ECA Group will lease the AUV to Petrus, while also providing operational support. Petrus, with its solid experience in the oil and gas market, will carry out and coordinate missions from preparation to data processing and delivery of results to the customers. This partnership guarantees to ECA Group a cumulative turnover of €6 million over the next four years, which can increase according to the rate of use. Depending on the commercial success, additional A18D AUVs could be commissioned as part of this partnership. Finally, it can be extended to other robots in the ECA Group range, such as A9 type portable AUVs (A9-S or A9-E) or Roving Bat ROV, cleaning and inspection ROV according to the needs. With the surge in offshore business in Brazil due to increased oil block tenders and a large demand for decommissioning services, this partnership could potentially reap good rewards in the near future.