Environmental event kickstarts ROG 2014

Deputy Minister Kåre Fostervold."Brazil is a leading laboratory for global innovation, constantly breaking new barriers", Norway´s Deputy Minister of Petroleum and Energy, Kåre Fostervold, said during the opening of NBCC seminar on environmental management, technology and regulations in the O&G industry on September 15, 2014.

The seminar was organized by the Norwegian Consulate General, Innovation Norway, NBCC, Intsok, Sintef and DNV GL, and was the first event hosted by Team Norway during the very busy Rio Oil & Gas week. While several Norwegian companies provide advanced technology in the environmental area, there is a significant demand for environmental services and technology in Brazil. The geopolitical scenario is changing and the frontiers for exploration and production are moving towards deeper waters, like the pre-salt field, and more vulnerable areas, like the Equatorial Margin. 

The Norwegian Deputy Minister of Petroleum and Energy, Mr. Kåre Fostervold, held the opening remarks at the event at the Hotel JW Marriott in Rio de Janeiro, and both company representatives and key stakeholders in the industry attended.

"I am pleased to see that there is a mutual interest in learning from each other, and this week will offer excellent opportunities to learn about world leading competences and build partnerships. I am impressed with what Brazil has accomplished. Brazil is a leading laboratory for global innovation, constantly breaking new barriers", Mr. Fostervold said in his address to the 100 people present.

The Deputy Minister also complimented Brazil as one of the least carbon intensive energy sectors in the world.

"This is remarkable for an oil producing country like Brazil. We share challenges in this field, and need champions to lead the way. We have to work together to develop tomorrow´s technology. These last weeks, Stavanger and Rio de Janeiro have been in the center of attention of the petroleum world, offering world class technology and know-how."

Mr. Fostervold also talked about the MOU BN21, signed in November last year.

"This is an instrument designed to foster partnerships for technological innovation. Many of the present here today can contribute to this effort. Innovation is about sharing ideas to solve common challenges. By joining forces we stand a better chance of success, and this seminar an excellent place to build knowledge and exchange information", Mr. Fostervold said.

Kjetil Solbrække (to the right) was the moderator of the panel discussion between Hugo Affonso (ANP,) Alexandre Costa (Ibama) and Rodlofo de Saboia (DPC).Complex regulations
In the first panel of the day, representatives from ANP, Ibama and the Brazilian Navy outlined the existing regulations of the environmental field.

Hugo Manoel Affonso is the deputy manager of safety and environmental regulations of ANP. He started his presentation talking about the current scenario for oil exploration and production in Brazil. Brazil has 419 production fields, but geological knowledge of only 7 percent of the 28 Brazilian basins.

According to Mr. Affonso, ANP´s main responsibility is process safety, and ANP rules focuses on process plant and operational safety and well control on the fields and exploratory blocks. Two new safety resolutions will come into effect this year, about the management systems for offshore pipeline and about well design, drilling, plug and abandonment.

"The ANP has a very strict auditing process and we have done 297 audits since 2010, and applied fines worth 732 million USD and 23 cautionary measures, but we don´t want to apply fines and expect the industry to comply with the rules. We should always exchange information and study new technology to improve our practices", Mr. Affonso said.

Alexandre Costa from Ibama presented the agency´s requirements for environmental risk analysis, emergency plans and the current status of the oil and gas industry, and also talked about the Ibama directives in areas like seismic researches, exploratory drilling and production and flowing systems.

"Brazil has a very recent, but rapidly evolving regulatory framework, and we seek to establish guidelines at least as rigorous as international best practices. Our emergency plans are progressively improving. In 2013, a new set of guidelines entered into effect. They cover offshore response, equipment upgrade and improved communication. Since then, we have seen noticeable improvements", Mr. Costa said.

Rodolfo Henrique de Saboia, environment superintendent in the port and coastal authority of the Brazilian Navy (DPC), talked about the role of the Brazilian navy in the environmental management of the oil and gas production in Brazil today. He also talked about the implementation of the 2013 national contingency plan and outlined relevant decrees. The Brazilian Navy, through the local port authorities, plays an important role in the monitoring of ships, platforms and other support facilities and the loaded cargo. 

 "This way DPC provides prevention, control and inspection of pollution originated from oil", Mr. de Saboia said.

Statoil algae research
During the second panel of the event, Petrobras and Statoil presented their environmental programs and practices.

From the left: Paulo van der Ven (Statoil), Patricia Kammradt (Petrobras), Jaime Lima (DNV GL) and Ivan Soares (Sintef). Moderator was Luiz Oliveira (to the right).Paulo van der Ven from Statoil talked about adapting Norway experience on environmental management to Brazil and presented the Pemca project, a  project for monitoring of the calcareous algae, present in the Peregrino field.

"We looked at previous experiences from Norway with deep sea coral reefs on the Njord field. Developing technology to monitor the impacts on the algae from drill cuttings discharge is a condition in our environmental license, and the projects involves universities, the Navy, Sintef and other stakeholders. As a result of the project, technology has been delivered for laboratory testing and the technology for subsea monitoring has been improved. Over 20 scientific papers have been published, and the technology is to be applied on Kristin Field and projects in Abu Dhabi and Azerbaijan". Mr. van der Ven explained.

Patricia Bastos Kammradt outlined the environmental programs of Petrobras and the investments the company has made in the environmental area of the E&P offshore activities.

"Petrobras Ambiental has 690 projects, and 107 are environmental projects. Petrobras will also spend more than 1,5 billion USD on mitigation and compensation projects from 2014-2018, on marine research, pollution control, oil spill response plans and regional assessments. We have 40 dedicated oil spill response vessels along the coast. Oil spill monitoring is another important line of investments. We experience an increasing public attention and regulatory pressure", she said.

Jaime Lima of DNV GL presented the development of the environmental risk management in Brasil.

"Before 2000, the level of requirements was very low. Since 2007 they have become more detailed. Despite the increasing production in Brazil, the number of oil spills is stable, and tis reflects a good performance. We expect a big increase in the offshore activities, with more complex operations and logistics. The distance to the coast can be an advantage, but transportation of the oil from the field to the coast will imply new challenges. This is an area that needs constant attention, discussions and research", Mr. Lima said.

Ivan Dias Soares from Instituto Sintef do Brasil talked about strategies and partnerships for emergencies and contingency planning. Information is a key word in the planning of contingency plans. He also talked about the new set of challenges that exploration in the Equatorial Margin will bring. Another new frontier are the pre-salt fields, due to deep water and longer distances from the shore.

"This adds complexity to emergency planning, and implies a higher risk due to deep water, new subsea technology, ocean currents, harsher environments and a limited infrastructure in place. We need to do modeling of currents and simulations, but in advance. Sintef is working to develop ocean forecasting and environmental monitoring, forecast systems for oil spill prediction and response, advanced integrated monitoring", Mr. Soares said.

Presentations available
Each panel was followed by a panel discussion and a Q&A session. Worst-case scenarios and the complexity of the regulations were topics discussed by the first panel.

Lack of competence in the Brazilian market to ensure preparedness for future scenarios and the sharing of emergency response resources was debated by the second panel.

 According to Helle Moen, director of Innovation Norway in Rio de Janeiro, environment is a great concern in both Norway and Brazil.

"With this seminar we wanted to show that it is possible to exploration and production of oil and gas in a sustainable way, and also that Norway and Brazil have a lot to gain by working together", she said.

The presentations from the event are available on




By Runa Hestmann, NBCC journalist



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