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Survey: Petrobrás SA wins 2007 BE Award

Posted on 02.01.2008 - 14:00 EST in GENERAL NEWS by Rons_ROV_Links

Petrobrás SA wins 2007 BE AwardPetrobrás SA, an integrated Brazilian company that performs oil and oil by-product exploration, production, refining, and transportation, has won a 2007 BE Award in the "Geospatial Mapping and Cadastre" category for its Obstacles Management System. This $20 million project enables Petrobrás to systematically map more than 40,000 surface and deep-sea obstacles in Brazil's Campos, Santos, Espírito Santo, and Rio Grande do Norte oil basins. The new system reduces the time required to install pipelines by up to 40 percent, resulting in savings of as much as $100,000 per day.

"Our new MicroStation-based system enables us to simply and quickly visualize in 3D all surface and deep-sea obstacles in areas of interest to help us research their characteristics," said Ruy Santos Cova, exploration technician III for Petrobrás. "In addition to dramatically cutting pipeline installation times, this capability allows us to more precisely plot the most cost-efficient pipeline paths. With undersea piping costing about $1000 per meter, savings from our use of shorter piping paths can be significant."
Cova continued, "Behind our new system's many capabilities is its use of MicroStation as the core platform. MicroStation made it possible for us to easily customize programs for the system as well as to develop a host of tools that facilitate data manipulation by all of our system users."

Development work on the MicroStation-based system began in 1996. The fact that subsequent versions of MicroStation could work with legacy data with no format conversion or loss of data was essential to the success of the project.

Before the development of the Obstacles Management System (known in Brazil as Sistema de Gerenciamento de Obstáculos, or SGO), the only way to pinpoint obstacles in the basin was to survey the area of interest by ship and use the data to create a detailed map. This had to be done each time a new piece of equipment or section of pipeline was installed and typically took days - and many dollars - to complete.

As offshore activity in the Campos basin increased, the number of sea obstacles, including rigid and flexible pipes, manifolds, platforms, pipeline end terminals, deep-sea topography (bathymetry), and oil wells, increased as well. Consequently, Petrobrás saw the need for a greater degree of planning in order to:

• Prevent accidents in operations involving the launch or collection of obstacles in the basin
• Decrease the amount of time spent managing pipelines in the basin
• Prevent environmental accidents from, for example, a ship anchoring near submarine pipes or a pipe overlapping another and causing a leak
• Increase the security of offshore operations

In developing the new system, Petrobrás first commissioned a survey ship equipped with a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) to map the entire 160,000 kilometers that make up the basin. It then used this database to create a comprehensive map of obstacles. The mapping was completed with the help of mapping software, precise navigation software, a global positioning system, and a submarine that detected subsea features by hydroacoustics.

Workers in the basins now send daily reports of their activities to the Geodesy Management team, which updates the system overnight. During the past year, more than 44,000 users have accessed the system and more than 1300 maps have been generated.

For more information on Petrobrás SA's winning project and all of the other 2007 BE Award projects, visit For more information on the Bentley products used in this project, visit

About the BE Awards

The BE Awards of Excellence, which are judged by an independent panel of industry experts and presented at an evening ceremony during the annual BE Conference (, honor the extraordinary work of Bentley users improving the world's infrastructure. These projects set benchmarks and showcase the imagination and technical mastery of the organizations that created them.

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