Traditional oil rigs will be replaced with “underwater cities” within a decade under ambitious plans being drawn up by Petrobras, Brazil’s state-owned energy group.
|Petrobas Platform: Rio de Janeiro (Telegraph image)|
Petrobras plans to turn science fiction into reality to extract oil from the vast pre-salt oil fields discovered off the south east coast of Brazil.
The plan is to construct ‘cities’ more than 2,000 metres under water, containing machines, giant pieces of equipment and robots that could inspect the systems being used to extract millions of barrels of oil. Many operations would be fully automated while others would be controlled by humans at a distance.
“Our target is that we won’t need platforms in ten years from now,” said Carlos Tadeu Fraga, executive manager of the Petrobras Research Centre.
Petrobras already owns virtual reality laboratories where engineers can inspect 3D images of oil fields. But now they want to take a further technological leap by installing floating rig equipment on the sea bed.