Growing energy markets
The world demand for energy is structurally on the rise, driven both by demographic growth and the industrialization of emerging countries.
Growing demand generates major equipment needs
Fossil fuels – oil, natural gas and coal – will remain the main source of energy in coming decades for lack of alternative solutions. Demand for oil should stay robust, especially in the transport sector, while demand for gas will likely continue its upward trend, largely due to its environmental attractiveness.
The rising demand for oil and gas, together with the normal depletion of existing wells, requires continuous drilling and generates an ongoing need to renew drilling and well equipment.
Growing demand for electricity is also creating a strong need for tubes designed for power plants. China has increased its investments in recent years in response to growing urbanization. In developed countries, renovation of existing power plants, built over the past 40 years, is also driving growth in this segment. Moreover, many countries have launched programmes to build nuclear power plants, with a view to securing energy supplies and reducing CO2 emissions – plants for which Vallourec supplies a complete range of tubular products.
Vallourec: playing a key role in the energy challenges of tomorrow
Energy resources more difficult to exploit combined with more stringent environmental requirements
Recently discovered oil and gas fields are more and more difficult to access and operating them has become increasingly complex. Well equipment must meet ever more stringent specifications, both technical (deep offshore, corrosive environments, deviated wells) and environmental (pollution risk management).
The new supercritical and ultra-supercritical power plants provide improved energy efficiency while meeting stricter environmental standards. These facilities require tubes capable of withstanding increasingly high pressure and temperature conditions, a Vallourec speciality. The resurgence of nuclear energy is also fuelling much stronger demand for special tubular products.
Vallourec: ideally positioned to meet current challenges
Innovative, high-tech products will play a key role in exploiting future oil and gas fields and in the new generations of power plants. For this reason, the Group is giving top priority to premium tubes and joints, whose alloy steel grades and the heat treatment to which they are subjected will enable us to meet the most stringent safety standards. Over the past five years, the Group has invested over € 300 million in research and development.
Rising to the challenge
The Tupi oil field, located off the Brazilian coast, ranks as the second largest oil discovery of the past 20 years. Estimated reserves of 5 to 8 billion barrels of oil are to be compared to Brazil’s proven reserves previously estimated at 12.2 billion barrels. Tupi alone presents all the major challenges raised by oil exploration and production. Petrobras, Brazil’s national oil company, will require a very specific tube and joint architecture to explore the hydrocarbons buried under 2,000 metres of water and 2,000 metres of salt – an environment that presents high collapse risks for the tubes in addition to the usual deep offshore problems of pressure, temperature and corrosion.