Steel…Forever Forward

Gas platform

In the age of the microchip, it’s sometimes hard to give thought to the world of steel and engineering. The common perception is that the Golden Age has passed, the Victorian era being the time when progress and innovation was at its height.

Instead of thinking this way, it’s better to remember that everybody has their part to play in the modern world; steel is as important today as it’s ever been. Cosmopolitan jet-setters, parking a Porsche at the airport before flying to Brazil rely on one single product more than ever to allow their lifestyle: Oil.

During recent years, Petrobas, the Brazilian energy company has invested heavily in both time and money to exploring for gas and oil off the coast of Brazil and West Yorkshire Steel are happy to have played a part.

Just off Brazil’s coast lies a continental shelf, where the land slopes gently away from the beach for a few miles before dropping sharply at the margin into a much deeper abyss. Brazil’s continental shelf has the Pre Salt Layer, a crust of 2,000 metres of salt and another 3,000 metres of rock beneath. Petrobas’ findings show that up to 50 billion barrels of good quality oil could lie beneath. Consider that Brazil’s current total reserve of oil is 14 billion barrels; this is incentive enough for further investigation.

Drilling through the Pre Salt Layer is extremely expensive as well as complicated. West Yorkshire Steel is supplying the AISI/SAE 4140 alloy steel to the Brazilian companies to assist in the exploration of the area. This kind of alloy steel is used in the manufacture of hydraulic and pneumatic equipment deployed by the offshore gas and oil companies.

This type of engineering is inherently dangerous and the steel we supply is of the highest quality. As West Yorkshire Steel is ISO 9001 registered, not only have our products been tested, but also our processes and procedures have been too, meaning our output quality is as high as it can be and our customer has assurance that we take our business seriously.

In this light, we also hope to supply other alloy grades for use in the components and machinery, such as AISI 4130, 4145 and 4330, each with a specific usage in order to help find successful oil fields not only in Brazil, but all over the world.

This is a very exciting time to be around Brazil; with the FIFA World Cup in 2014 and the Summer Olympics in 2016, Brazil will be the focus of the world’s sporting attention for two years, boosting the country’s image and financial fortunes. The successful drilling of triple the area’s current oil reserves would increase Brazil’s fortunes astronomically.

Brazil is on a very exciting journey, which we believe applies to everyone, including the steel industry. While the days of smoking forges and mutton-chopped engineers may be behind us, today’s steel industry has progressed on a journey, learning lessons from other technological advances to become a sector of precision and quality. Our part in this world means that we can assist in the drilling for oil, allowing the rest of the jet-setting world to carry on using hundreds of microchips, driving their cars to airports while quietly supported and assisted by a modern steel industry.