From laboratory experience to export technology. It was this way, thanks to a research ordered by Brazilian oil company Petrobras to the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro (PUC-RJ) in southeastern Brazil, that company Gavea Sensors, a manufacturer of sensors used in oil exploration wells, originated.
The product is used to measure the temperature and pressure in wells and, thus, to provide more precise monitoring of exploration.
The sensor created by the company from Rio de Janeiro is entirely made out of fibre optics, which have greater durability and may have multiple sensors in the same cable, not the case with the measuring equipment normally used.
Nowadays there are already sensors like the ones manufactured by Gavea, but since they are made in the United States, they are still very expensive and not worth the investment for wells of low and medium production levels.
"Ours has all the advantages of the American one but for a much lower cost," explains Luiz Carlos Guedes, one of the partners at Gavea Sensors, and a specialist in fiber optics by the University of London.
The sensor may be used in any kind of well, for the extraction of all kinds of oil. The tests were made on land, but nothing stops it from being used in maritime wells. The installation costs vary according to the well’s dimensions. The cost for installation of a sensor in a simple well, one kilometer deep, starts at US$ 30,000, considering the Brazilian workforce costs.
Gavea Sensors was created in 2003, to make the product created in the laboratory commercially viable. The first buyer, of course, was Brazilian oil giant Petrobras itself.
Now, the partners in the company are preparing themselves for the demand that should come from abroad in two or three months.
"There is a great market to be explored. To have an idea, Petrobras has 8,000 wells being explored. In the United States there are 80,000 wells," stated Guedes.
With their eye on the extensive American market, Guedes is going to travel to Houston within the next two weeks to present the product at a fair about automation of petroleum exploration.
The small company also has its eye on other sectors. With the same technology used in the sensors, the engineers and physicists at Gávea have established products for the aeronautics, automotive, naval and civil engineering industries, among others.
"With the fiber optics sensors, we may monitor great constructions like a barrage, for example," he said. Not bad for a company that started in a university incubator.
Anba – www.anba.com.br