Petrobras faces challenge of decommissioning old platforms

With 74 offshore platforms with more than 25 years of operation, Petrobras is expanding the development of their decommissioning projects, demobilization and removal of equipment at the end of an offshore oil production system.  Under development or planning are the Cação fields in the Espirito Santo Basin and Marlim fields, in the Campos Basin.

Solange Guedes, Petrobras E&P Director, confirms that the company is in the process of verifying the decommissioning of systems that have reached their useful life.

Decommissioning of the offshore systems are considered a relatively new activity in the world offshore oil industry and especially in Brazil. Cristina Pinho, Executive Manager of deep-water systems at Petrobras, says it is a major challenge for the Brazilian industry. So much so, that Petrobras has created a special division to oversee the problem.

According to Roger Esson, president of Decom North Sea (created in 2010 for the decommissioning of the North Sea systems), this activity has a worldwide potential of U$500 billion in the next 40 years. The North Sea systems  spend approximately 1 billion pounds per year in decommissioning.

The Gulf of Mexico has an established market, North Sea is more recent and in Brazil it does not exists, according to Esson. Brazil needs to establish legislation and procedures to confront this problem, which is already being addressed by Petrobras.

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