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Petrobras completed the deck mating operation for the P-55 semisubmersible platform at the Rio Grande Naval Hub in the state of Rio Grande do Sul. This operation involves coupling the platform's topside deckbox with the hull. The deck mating procedure entailed lifting the deckbox, a technique never used before in Brazil, and represented a record achievement in terms of the weight of the structure and to the height to which it was lifted, claimed the company.
The lifting system consisted of 12 towers connected to 24 hydraulic jacks each with a capacity of 900 tons. It was designed to raise the deckbox to a height of 47 m (154 ft) above the bottom of the shipyard's dry dock. Twenty-four sets of 54 steel wire ropes were used to lift the structure. Each wire rope was 18-mm in diameter and 60-m (196-ft) long.
The modules will be installed and the system integrated in the coming months. After this stage has been completed, the P-55 will be transported to the Campos Basin's Roncador oilfield, off the coast of Rio de Janeiro, and is expected to start operating in September 2013. At full capacity, the P-55 is capable of producing up to 180,000 barrels of oil and six million cu m of natural gas per day.
Petrobras' CEO, Maria das Graças Silva Foster, was at the Rio Grande Naval Hub during the deck mating operation, together with the company's directors. "The people of Rio Grande do Sul and all Brazilians have good reason to be proud of this achievement. The sheer scale of the operation is amazing. This is the first ever platform built at the Rio Grande Naval Hub and largest semisubmersible platform ever built in Brazil," she said.
Maria das Graças also highlighted the uniqueness of the operation and the potential of the naval hub. "This is the first time a deck mating operation, coupling the modules and hull, has ever been done using this technique. The deckbox, weighing 17,000 tons, was raised over 40 m (131 ft) and lowered onto the hull. The usual procedure is to lower the hull. The P-55 and the eight replicant FPSOs to be built here will be Brazilian and international benchmarks."