Brazil to replace oil rigs with ‘underwater cities’
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.
A Petrobras oil platform at Guabanara bay in Rio de Janeiro.
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.
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.
The machinery under the sea would be capable of separating oil, gas, water and sand, compressing substances and generating enough energy to keep the operation functioning.