A green approach


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The significant demand for environmental services and technology in Brazil is good news for Norwegian service providers in the segment. 

Several Norwegian companies provide advanced technology in the environmental area, and this was also the reason why Innovation Norway and Team Norway decided to organize a seminar on environmental management, technology and regulations in the O&G industry during Rio Oil & Gas 2014. Magni, Metas, NorLense and Ecotone are some of these companies.

A different approach
Aptomar is also to find on this list, but Aptomar has actually chosen a slightly different approach to the Brazilian market than many others. The company produces a tactical oil spill management system, composed by sensors for remote sensing and software for decision support tools. This system can automatically detect oil in the water, and measure and visualize the relative thickness of the oil during a spill in open water.

From the left: Rui Orsini, Lars Solberg and deputy minister Kåre Fostervold at the Aptomar stand during Rio Oil & Gas 2014.From the left: Rui Orsini, Lars Solberg and deputy minister Kåre Fostervold at the Aptomar stand during Rio Oil & Gas 2014.“I have made over 400 presentations in recent years. It has been a long process and many meetings”, says Rui Orsini, Sales Manager in Paschoalin, Aptomar´s representative in Brazil.

Many of these meetings were with the representatives of the Brazilian regulatory bodies like IBAMA, INEA and ANP.

Aptomar has been in Brazil since 2009, represented by Paschoalin Consultoria, but in October last year, Aptomar’s Brazilian subsidiary was formally created. This event coincided with something Aptomar had been waiting  – and working hard for:

A new IBAMA guideline on contingency plans in the offshore sector requires that every oil field in drilling or production and all oil recovery vessels (ORV), Oil Spill Response Vessels (OSRV) and Emergency Response and Rescue Vessels (ERRVs) must have advanced monitoring systems for oil spill detection and combating installed on board.

This is a service that Aptomar, as the first player on the market, offers.

“We have been in active contact with oil companies and regulators for years, and have always worked with authorities to ensure that they are aware of what exists of technological solutions in the market and show them how it’s done elsewhere, for example in the Norwegian oil industry. The oil companies operate according to the framework set by the regulators, and do not install new technology unless it is a requirement”, says Lars Solberg, CEO and one of Aptomar’s founders.

He calls the Brazilian market, both regulators and oil companies, for mature when it comes to emergency preparedness and environmental requirements. This makes Brazil so important to Aptomar. 25 vessels use the Aptomar equipment in Brazil today. Petrobras has 22 of these in its fleet.

IBAMA has also set up a special operations center where they can follow the radars and cameras of the 25 vessels in real time, creating a common operating picture during an incident.

“An active regulator like IBAMA, which always strives to look the interest of Brazil and its people, is important”, says Rui Orsini.

What separates Aptomar from the competition is a sensor that measures the oil’s relative thickness on the surface and creates a common operating picture for all resources involved, onshore and offshore.

Photo courtesy of Aptomar.Photo courtesy of Aptomar.“This feature makes it easier for the ORV crew and incident management team to decide where to concentrate the response efforts and recovery tools. It gives an on-site overview of where the combatable oil is, including documenting that the oil is recovered which will provide a faster and more effective clean-up”, says Orsini.

He believes IBAMA also realizes this, and the new regulations are very detailed in their requirements.

“IBAMA has always shown great interest in what can be done to improve preparedness for accidents. We experience a much stronger focus on new technologies and best practice in the market. This applies for the oil companies, contractors and service providers. In addition, we see that environmental emergency response is a high priority here. Now it is essential that regulations are followed in practice and actually implemented. It must be a requirement to use the best that the market offers, both in terms of technology and know-how. This is not an area the oil companies should save money on. As part of getting access to our natural resources, they must safeguard the Brazilian people and ecosystem by always strive to do more and always improve. IBAMA has the opportunity and mandate to follow up and verify if the companies are actually doing their best”, says Orsini.

Significant demand
Lars Solberg thinks the development of pre-salt fields offshore Brazil will offer new opportunities. Aptomar is receiving more requests for informations since the regulation came into force.

“For pre-salt areas new contingency plans must be drawn up. It will represent a new dimension of challenges, both in environmental and oil spill issues. We will continue to assist our clients to safeguard people, the environment, and their assets, so they can stay in control of any unwanted situation”, says Lars Solberg.

There is a significant demand for environmental services and technology in Brazil.  Other companies in the same segment are Magni, a NBCC member offering services related to the Brazilian environmental licensing process.

Norwegian Nature Group offers services of offshore waste handling while Termtech offers services for the offshore cleaning of cuttings. Other companies in the sector are Ecotone that offers environmental mapping of the seabed using so-called UHI technology.

Companies like Metas and NorLense provide services similar to Aptomar. Metas offers environmental monitoring and oil leak detection subsea using acoustic signals, while NorLense  produces oil spill response equipment.

Another company is Maritime Robotics  that offers unmanned vehicles for oil spill monitoring, the so called «OceanEye», to the oil and gas industry.

Environment is also a great concern to companies like DNV GL and Sintef do Brasil – and to the Norwegian-Brazilian oil and gas industry as a whole.

By Runa Hestmann, NBCC journalist