Petrobras’ disposal of FPSO opens doors to Brazilian recycling industry
Brazilian state-owned oil and gas giant Petrobras has concluded the auction for the disposal of an FPSO vessel, as part of its new commitment to sustainable ship recycling. This is believed to be the first recycling project of this sort to be undertaken in Brazil.
Petrobras sold the FPSO P-32, which worked at the Marlim field in the Campos Basin, on 7 July 2023. As a result, Gerdau, a steel company, and Ecovix shipyard have been entrusted with the responsible and environmentally sound recycling of the platform, in a collaboration supervised by the Brazilian giant.
Nicola Mulinaris, Senior Communication and Policy Advisor of the NGO Shipbreaking Platform, commented: “This decision marks the first time a commercial vessel at the end of its lifecycle will be dismantled in Brazil. This significant move not only paves the way for the development of a recycling industry in Brazil but also sets an important precedent for the shipping and oil and gas sectors, encouraging other ship owners to adopt similar strategies for capacity building.”
The recycling of the P-32 platform is part of Petrobras’ Marlim and Voador revitalisation project, where two new FPSOs – Anna Nery and Anita Garibaldi – will replace the previous nine vessels: P-18, P-19, P-20, P-26, P-32, P-33, P-35, P-37, and P-47. This project is expected to contribute to the recovery of the Campos Basin production, which is anticipated to reach 900,000 boed in 2027.
Furthermore, Petrobras is expected to retire at least 26 units over the next five years, with a projected investment of $9.8 billion allocated towards decommissioning activities. In line with this, the energy player announced the adoption of a new policy a few months ago, mandating the recycling of vessels only in facilities equipped with dry docks or impermeable surfaces with drainage systems.
According to the NGO Shipbreaking Platform, this off-the-beach stance places Petrobras among an increasing number of responsible ship owners, including competitors, SBM Offshore and Shell, that are choosing facilities with infrastructure enabling the safe and environmentally sound management of their end-of-life assets.
Mulinaris further adds: “After years of selling numerous old vessels for dirty and dangerous shipbreaking on the shores of South Asia, Petrobras has finally committed to environmental stewardship by unequivocally disavowing such practices.
“Moreover, their decision to opt for a domestic solution, leveraging the state-of-the-art infrastructure available in Brazil, showcases that it is possible to find alternative and better solutions to beaching.”
The FPSO Anna Nery started production at the Marlim and Voador revitalisation project on 7 May 2023. This FPSO is anchored in a water depth of 927 metres and interconnected to 32 wells, with peak production scheduled for 2025.