Radix and Enaval mitigate risks on Mexilhão project

Platform capacity expansion project expected delivery for April 2018.

Mexilhao radix eneval project

A new milestone in pre-salt history is set to take place on April 2018. It all began on November 2016 when Enaval won a Petrobras bid and hired Radix to participate at the Mexilhão platform capacity expansion project. In less than a year, Radix and Enaval optimized the project by mitigating risks, anticipating construction, and reducing natural resources usage.

Brazil currently produces 106 million m³ of natural gas per day. Mexilhão is responsible for about 15 million m³ per day and with the expansion, its capacity will increase to 20 million m³. This expansion will meet the growing demand for gas consumption in thermoelectric industry and residential areas. "We are talking about a large hub; the platform will obtain gas and pre-salt, and send it onshore," said João Carlos Chachamovitz, Radix Executive Director.

Radix and Enaval differentiated themselves by increasing efficiency and decreasing cost throughout the entire engineering detailing project in order to revamp the platform’s capacity in less than 12 months.

“The project moves about 800 tons. We managed to anticipate construction onshore rather than out at sea. This helped reduce costs and time during 35-days scheduled shutdown. Had the company not been able to do this on land, the risks, and delays would be significantly higher. We also bet on 3D modeling to minimize risk and provide a greater assurance during construction. We have been able to predict all necessary devices and optimize time, cost, and safety. We were able to anticipate the construction of 72% of Gasmex and 86% of BS 500,” explained Chachamovitz.

For Enaval contract manager, Antônio Costanza, the technologies used by Radix impacted the positive results on the project. In addition to this, the manager points out that Enaval has been able to move to the next steps in construction due to Radix’s 3D modeling.

“We are using special 3D and 4D tools to increase performance and avoid reworks. We have completed 25% of the project’s construction so far, considering the engineering part, supplies, and planning stages. We are now focused on the construction, as this is where the work materializes. We will have 620 Enaval employees per month coming in and out of the platform, as well as a supporting team in the company's office. We will have a Maintenance and Security Unit (an equipment storage area), and a place for employees to sleep and eat to support them offshore, "said Costanza.

When talking about numbers, Radix Director credits the team involved: "We’ve had an excellent technical work so far. They have generated 825 documents, where 303 were sent in for validation from Petrobras, and only 2 came back for changes. We are talking about over 99% accuracy. The benchmark is 90% accuracy. Our team hasn’t needed rework, and thus, its efficiency has increased. "

Enaval President, Amauri Rodrigues, recalls the excitement of winning the bid during a difficult time in the country's history.

“We started the bid process eager to execute the project. This all came in the middle of an oil downturn and the Brazilian economic crisis. Enaval has a shipyard by the sea that facilitates shipping and we can also demonstrate our strategy for onshore construction, in the form of modular skids, where production is more effective than in an offshore environment. The company takes advantage of the professionals available with which to build our team. Therefore, our proposal had a competitive advantage. We thank Petrobras for relying on Enaval to carry out the project. We are proud to work on a project such as this. Radix has been our partnering company helping us achieve this goal,” said Amauri.


There is the challenge of resizing the pipeline in an already predefined area because it is a brownfield project (an existing plant in activity). "We had a specified 35-day deadline for construction, disassembly, and assembly of equipment and pipelines during the plant shutdown. Therefore, it was essential to plan all activities onshore in order to meet the deadline and other requirements,” explained Chachamovitz.

Enaval President considers the change from offshore activities to onshore a historical one for Petrobras’ projects. "Radix, realizing the opportunity to optimize time during shutdown, studied the situation and noticed activities that could be executed onshore. Petrobras accepted the idea while the project was in progress, " said Amauri.


The next steps will replace the existing pipelines to withstand greater gas pressure and have Radix validate fabricated equipment. "We cannot have any errors because it's a brownfield project. We are working to have the minimum impact without interfering with the current production," explained Radix director.

As a trend, João Chachamovitz highlights the importance of a constructability discipline in the upcoming years. "This doesn’t normally fit into a conventional engineering design. However, it is becoming more important in the industry. This was the first time the discipline was required for a project.”

Constructability has also been an increasingly important strategy for Enaval’s engineering projects in order to forecast and prepare for problems that may arise. "With constructability, we can better forecast problems on the correct construction sequencing. This work is performed by Radix, which has been highly praised by Petrobras. This will now become mandatory for future projects, as it is the best way to execute the work, visualize, and foresee problems, always aiming for the lowest amount of risks possible," emphasized Costanza.

After the success of Mexilhão project, the president of Enaval expects new opportunities on projects of the same size. "The industry direction points to similar type of work in the post-salt. Lots of people are watching this project’s execution that may lead to future similar projects."