By Fabio Palmigiani in Rio de Janeiro
Brazilian federal environmental regulator Ibama wants to speed the process of issuing licenses for oil and gas projects, partially ending bureaucratic procedures that locked investments in the sector for far too long.
According to Ibama licensing director Rose Mirian Hofmann, the regulator identified approximately 1000 pending requirements requested from 2010 to 2016 on all segments, including oil and gas projects, waiting to be reviewed.
“A lot of processes within Ibama are not yet in our electronic system, so we need to bring all these processes to the computer age,” Hofmann told reporters after a presentation at a plenary session on the third day of the Rio Oil & Gas conference.
“We expect the computing system to be installed in January 2017, and by around March I think we will be able to begin streamlining the whole permitting process. It is actually a very simple measure to improve the structure of Ibama.”
She also highlighted that Ibama will prioritise issuing preliminary, installation and operational licences, respectively, for projects that are expected to bring significant investments to the country, and the oil and gas industry is high in the charts.
“We want to unlock sectors that are prioritizing investments. We have 70 of our 430 environmental analysts based in Rio de Janeiro handling permits for the oil and gas industry,” Hofmann said, adding that the transport and electric power segments also demanding considerable attention from Ibama.
Delays to the granting of environmental licenses was the main reason operators with blocks in the Brazilian northern equatorial margin requested an extension of their exploration commitments to carry out drilling in areas such as the new frontier Foz do Amazonas, Barreirinhas, Para-Maranhao and Ceara basins.