The Modules

Of the modules comprising the original plant, 26 were transferred to Urucu. In order to complete the new unit, 18 more modules were built, carried and assembled.

Among the new modules, six composed the electrical plant and control room. The four largest modules are each 23 m long and 5 m wide and, together, occupy a 460-sq-m area.

Loading, carrying and unloading the four larger modules of the electrical plant and the two 36-m-long, 3.5-m-dia process towers involved the most complex logistic activities, which required specific vehicles, such as platform trailers and specially adapted barges. Further, the haul required special permits and coordination due to traffic interruptions on the roads.

For the logistics of loading, carrying and unloading, cranes with different capacities were used and varied from 70 tonnes to 500 tonnes. More difficult picks involved the simultaneous use of a 500-tonne crane and a 320-tonne crane.

The New Site

Adapting the plant to the Urucu site was also a challenge. “We had to gather Brazilian and foreign suppliers for the adaptation work,” Bernardes explains. The tasks, which required about 900 people, involved introducing compressed-air, power-generation and firefighting systems as well as other infrastructure.

Work progressed quickly. Foundation construction started in May 2013 at Polo Arara. In September, the parts and pieces of equipment started to be arranged on the site. By October, out of six total, the first pipe rack was installed. Incredibly, the transfer took place from a highly urbanized, densely occupied area to an isolated region in the Amazon that can be accessed only by river.

“Changing tires, the need of a screw—everything had to be brought to the site, which required extensive and detailed management of the project,” Bernardes says. “Cell phones sometimes would have no signal, and they were sealed when people arrived in the plant because of Petrobras’ rules.” The nearest city is 300 km from Urucu.

“Setting up the unit within such a short deadline was an amazing feat,” adds the engineer.