Petrobras sets its cap on pursuing further decarbonisation pieces in energy transition puzzle
Brazilian state-owned oil and gas giant Petrobras has notched new emissions reduction milestones, thanks to two of its giant fields in the pre-salt of the Santos Basin recording emissions below the world average last year while its carbon capture utilisation and storage (CCUS) efforts paid off, enabling it to get ranked as the largest in the world in annual CO2 reinjection capacity. This has added more fuel to the firm’s decarbonisation zest, as it plans to go after additional opportunities in the energy transition landscape.
Petrobras explains that it has progressively advanced towards the decarbonisation of its operations during 15 years of operation in the pre-salt. The achievement of performance below 9.5 kgCO₂e for each barrel of oil equivalent produced – a volume lower than the world average – at the Tupi and Búzios fields last year is seen as a case in point. Located in the pre-salt of the Santos Basin, these assets represent around 51 per cent of Petrobras’ production.
“The carbon efficiency of Petrobras’ oil and gas production in the pre-salt region is due to a portfolio of projects focused on operational excellence and, consequently, reducing greenhouse gas emissions. These projects, which incorporate cutting-edge technologies, have achieved efficiency in energy generation on the platforms, resulting in reduced gas consumption and associated emissions. Also relevant are initiatives that seek to reduce gas burning (flaring), controlled gas release (venting), and leaks (fugitive emissions),” explains the Brazilian giant.
Furthermore, Petrobras sees CCUS as another important tool that reduces the intensity of emissions in oil and gas production in the pre-salt. This solution, which combines CCUS with advanced oil recovery (CCUS-EOR), was “essential” to enable production in the pre-salt fields of the Santos Basin, outlines the company while adding that its CCUS activities became the largest in the world in terms of annual CO₂ reinjection capacity last year.
According to the Global CCS Institute, Petrobras broke a world record by reinjecting 10.6 million tons of CO₂ into pre-salt reservoirs in 2022, equivalent to 25 per cent of the total reinjected by the global industry in 2022. The firm’s accumulated reinjected volume, since it began operating this technology in 2008, reached 40.8 million tons.
“By reinjecting the gas into the reservoir, production efficiency is increased and the intensity of GHG emissions is reduced, measured in emissions per barrel produced. With this, the objective is to seek a low-cost and low-carbon operation, ensuring the competitiveness of the project. Currently, the 23 platforms operating in the pre-salt fields are equipped with CCUS,” highlighted Petrobras.
The Brazilian giant’s CCUS achievements in the pre-salt were recognised by the Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum (CSLF) in June this year. Petrobras claims that this was the first time a company from Latin America obtained this award, which emphasises the relevance of the firm’s CCUS project for the global industry and demonstrates its safety in the geological storage of CO₂.
The company’s CCUS project also received the Firjan Sustainability award in Brazil, in the Climate Change and Energy Efficiency category in 2020. Bearing this in mind along with the increasing decarbonisation prompts on the global energy scene, Petrobras intends to use all its experience and knowledge with the CCUS to develop new opportunities in the energy transition environment, contributing to reducing not only its own emissions but also those of the country as a whole, bringing Brazil closer to its net-zero targets.
A lot of pressure is being placed on the oil and gas industry’s shoulders, as the world ups its energy transition ante in a bid to accelerate the journey to net-zero emissions. As a result, fossil energy players are diversifying their portfolios to meet the demand for low-carbon and renewable energy.
To this end, Petrobras recently signed multiple deals with Chinese companies regarding different opportunities in the energy sector, such as oil and gas exploration and production, refining, petrochemical industry, energy transition projects, renewable energy generation, the production of sustainable hydrogen and ammonia, and carbon capture segments.
The Brazilian giant is also setting the stage to ramp up its oil and gas production, as demonstrated by its recently revealed plans to put 11 additional FPSO units into operation in the pre-salt layer offshore Brazil by 2027 to boost production in a bid to reach 2.4 million boe.