Japanese consortium aims to build megafloat off Brazilian Coast
TOKYO (The Yomiuri Shimbun) – The government and a Japanese consortium, including shipbuilders and heavy machinery makers, plan to develop a giant floating structure off Brazil that can accommodate up to 200 offshore oil and gas rig workers.
They intend to propose the project to a company backed by the Brazilian government, aiming to secure an order by late 2014 and build it as early as 2016.
The government plans to provide 1.45 billion yen in subsidies over a three-year period. Teaming up with the private sector, the government hopes to expand infrastructure exports.
The consortium, J-DeEP, was formed last Monday by companies and other entities.
The Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry announced the outline of the project – expected to cost hundreds of billions of yen – last Tuesday.
If it wins the order, this will be the world’s first habitable megafloat.
According to sources, the government will also look at using megafloats in the future to develop resources in Japan’s exclusive economic zones.
In recent years, large oil and natural gas reserves have been discovered about 300 kilometres off the coast of Brazil.
Drilling is scheduled to start after 50 offshore rigs are built by 2020.
For the oil and gas exploration, it is inefficient to have workers transported by ship or helicopter between the mainland and offshore construction sites.
As a logistics hub, the envisioned offshore platform would be instrumental in increasing efficiency.
The consortium plans to build the megafloat about 200 kilometres offshore. Anchored to the seabed, the floating structure is expected to be 315 metres by 80 metres.
It is designed to house offices and accommodations for up to 200 people.
A power-generation facility will also be built on the megafloat to supply electricity. Drinking water, food and fuel will be regularly replenished by ships from the mainland.
Workers would travel by helicopter between the megafloat and offshore rigs where oil and gas drilling and refining will be conducted.
To develop the megafloat, the consortium intends to take advantage of participating companies’ assembly technology acquired through past shipbuilding work.
To minimise the impact of waves on the megafloat and improve living comfort, it plans to research the structure’s stability and moorings.
The main participants in the consortium are IHI Corp, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd, Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd, Japan Maritime United Corp, Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding Co and NYK Line.
The National Maritime Research Institute and Nippon Kaiji Kyokai, known as ClassNK, are also part of the consortium.