New technologies gaining ground


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Norwegian suppliers show interest in filling the gaps and contributing to improving the rapidly evolving Brazilian oil spill preparedness and contingency response regulations.

Oil spill preparedness in Brazil was the topic of a workshop organized by INTSOK and NOSCA, the Norwegian Oil Spill Control Association, on March 3, 2015. The workshop took place in Copacabana, in close cooperation with Ibama, ANP and Statoil.

In the first session, the current regulatory framework was outlined by representatives from the Brazilian Navy, Ibama and ANP.

Cintia Levita do Bonfim, Environmental Analyst from Ibama, explained the role of Ibama as the environmental authority that makes impact assessments and licensing. She also presented the different regulations for the sector, like the Brazilian Oil Act, that makes it mandatory to have a so-called PEP, a particular emergency plan for ports, terminals and platforms. These emergency plans needs to be approved by Ibama. She also identified gaps in the current regulations that require follow-up.

«Over the years, equipment and response failures have been identified, and today we see improvements. Brazil has a recent, but rapidly evolving regulatory framework, and Ibama and the Ministry of Environment seek to establish guidelines at least as rigorous as international best practices. We are addressing the bottlenecks. Offshore emergency plans are being progressively improved. Today, the use of ICS, short for Incident Command System, is improving communication, we see more shoreline protection projects as well as wildlife protection networks under development. We are discussing area plans for the offshore industry, that is shared regional solutions and capacities in case of a high volume incident. Topics like storage, transportation and treatment of oily water, equipment adequacy and modeling adjustments and improvements still need our attention. We are working on the use of dispersants and in situ burning. Regulations on chemical dispersion are under revision, by Conama», Mrs. Bonfim said.

Luciene Pedrosa, Environmental Coordinator at ANP outlined the National Contingency Plan in more detail and made it clear that the responsibility is always of the polluter.  She emphasized the importance of area plans for offshore exploration.

«This is something we are working on, a process coordinated by Ibama, for the Campos Basin, enabling operators to share capabilities in case of an incident», Mrs. Pedrosa said.

Admiral Rodolfo Henrique de Saboia from the Brazilian Navy Ports and Coastal Directorate / Marinha do Brasil talked about the Navy´s responsibilities. Preventing pollution and environmental incidents is among these responsibilities and the Navy monitors ships, platforms and support facilities, and also plays an important part in the National Contingency Plan.

Innovative solutions
Improving the industry´s oil spill preparedness and contingency response is an ongoing effort, but the workshop presentations demonstrated that there are gaps to be filled. This is a market where Norwegian suppliers hope to gain ground, and 15 companies presented their capabilities within detection, surveillance, response and containment systems during the workshop, to Brazilian operators and authorities.

«We at INTSOK are pleased to see how much new technology is being developed and how much we can bring to Brazil, the local INTSOK adviser to Brazil», Mr. Adhemar Freire says.

To stand stronger in the market, companies Aptomar, Norlense and Frank Mohn do Brasil decided to join forces, and together they presented their company OSRgroup, that offers a complete oil recovery package to the industry.

«We decided to team up with other suppliers of quality equipment, including the most important features in oil spill recovery. These are complex operations, and our equipment has already been tested and proved efficient», Anders Jørgensen of Norlense said. There are more than 70 Norlense systems in use in Brazil today.

Lars Solberg from Aptomar presented its oil spill management system, called the «Securus» system, that includes infrared cameras that will locate the spilled oil on the map and even measure the relative thickness of the oil.

«Before you deploy your equipment, you need to know where the oil is and where it is moving”, Mr. Solberg explained.

Luis Fernandio Bassani Dias from Framo presented the company´s skimmers to the audience. Framo has delivered more than 40 of its «TransRec» systems in Brazil.

Other new, innovative solutions for detection and surveillance were also presented during the workshop:

Nina Soleng from Kongsberg Satellite Services presented the satellite based oil spill detection that Ksat offers. Ksat has been monitoring the Norwegian Continental Shelf since 2004 and is also used by Pemex in the Gulf of Mexico. Carlos Belem from Octio talked about leakage avoidance with real time seismic monitoring, and how seismic monitoring of the reservoir will reduce risk.

Vegard Evjen Hovstein of Maritime Robotics presented the «Oceaneye», an aerial surveillance system that can assist or even replace a helicopter or aircraft, contributing to lowering cost and improving HSE. Rune Fivelstad from Miros  presented the radar system X-band, that measures waves and the ocean surface, with a remote sensor for oil spill. Miros has already delivered equipment to Petrobras.

Camilla Kamsvåg from Vissim presented an integrated software for oil spill detection through radars, and Arild Brevik, of Kongsberg Maritime do Brasil, talked about his company´s early leak detection system subsea.

Odd Gunnar Jørgensen from MBB who provides oil spill response management, training, consultancy and exercise deliveries also talked about  Norwegian technological development program that supported the development of the technologies of Aptomar and Maritime Robotics. Now a new program has been issued, and 200 projects ideas are under evaluation.

Peter Øye from Markleen presented the «uniboom», a 400 m long self expanding oil boom designed to contain oil during heavy weather condition. It is operated by remote control and inflates when deployed on water. Petrobras has already acquired this technology. Paulo Rolim of Rolls-Royce Marine talked about the design of oil spill recovery vessels. Rolls-Royce has developed a design to attend the Petrobras tender for oil spill response vessels.

Need to share
Petrobras, Queiroz Galvão Oleo e Gas and Statoil were invited to share their best practices in oil spill preparedness.

Mr. Frederico Maia, the Senior Consultant for Emergency Response in Petrobras, emphasized the importance of response time, thorough planning and training.

«The immediate response plan needs to be like a miniskirt, short enough to catch interest, but long enough to cover the area of interest. Training exercises are vital, and we need to improve our practices – always», he said.

His colleague, Mr. Marcus Vinicius Lisboa Brandão, Contingency Sectorial Manager of Petrobras, outlined the company´s capacities when it comes to emergency response. Petrobras has 25 so called CDAs, centres for environmental defense, all around the country. The CDAs are equipped and manned to cover a distance of 400 m within eight hours and the whole country in 24 hours. The biggest one is located near the Guarulhos International Airport in São Paulo.

«The first CDA was inaugurated in 2000 after the Guanabara Bay accident. Today we have a lot of Norwegian equipment at the CDAs», he said, and mentioned skimmer systems, recovery boats, pumps, booms and tanks.

«The industry must prepared to respond, and we need to look at the sharing of capabilities and also consider new technologies like the use of dispersants and in situ burning», Mr Brandão said.

He also talked about the initiative to design a well capping «toolbox». Brazil has a SWRP unit located in Angra dos Reis.

Mr.  Diogo Sandy, Emergency Response Manager at Statoil talked about the robust training program his company has implemented in Brazil, with monthly exercises, and said that on the Peregrino field, Statoil has assessed how oil viscosity and properties of the navy oil can cause problems for equipment in case of an accident. The Peregrino field has very heavy oil, and the thickness of the oil will influence predictions. He also emphasized the importance of sharing resources and capabilities.

Mr. Mario Ielago, the HSEQ international manager of Queiroz Galvão O&G talked about oil spill preparedness, from a drilling perspective. QGOG is the largest Brazilian controlled provider of drilling and FPSO services in Brazil, and the company is investing in maintenance and training in order to eliminate incidents and downtime.

In the last session of the day, Mr. Jaime Lima of DNV GL and Ms. Renata de la Rocque of Lloyd´s Register do Brazil, talked about modeling, risk assessment, research and training.


By Runa Hestmann, NBCC journalist