A new device capable of simultaneously injecting steam and extracting petroleum from wells and cutting costs was invented by the Petroleum Engineering Company (Engepet), a small firm based in the northeastern Brazilian state of Sergipe.
"It is necessary to maintain the pressure inside the well for pumping the oil. Usually, this is accomplished by drilling a second well for steam injection, which heightens the operational cost," explains businessman Cléber Bahia.
The equipment, named "BPZ," was created and patented by engineer Zadson Almeida Franco, one of Engepet's owners. "It is a worldwide pioneering product, claims Cléber Bahia.
The company integrates the Petroleum and Gas Chain Project, a partnership between the Brazilian Micro and Small Business Support Service (Sebrae) and Petrobras for capacitation of suppliers in the sector.
After Engepet set out to improve its management and quality, in 2003, the company revenues increased 600%, also due to the innovative nature of their products.
Presently, the company is working together with the Petrobras Research and Development Center, to develop a generator for injecting steam into wells. The current method consists of producing steam in a boiler located on the surface. The new idea will enable production of steam in the well.
"Is is another way of cutting costs, which, in structures such as these, are in the millions," says the businessman.
Even with all the technology, gaining new markets has not been easy for Engepet. The company has a hard time selling to Petrobras units outside the state and broadening its field of action.
"This is an extremely conservative market, featuring large investments and reliance on well-known suppliers," says Cléber. According to him, when the time comes to negotiate, bearing the Petroleum and Gas Chain Project name makes a difference.
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