Prosecutor threatens BP and Total’s plans to drill near the Amazon Reef

The Federal Prosecutor of the State of Amapá has recommended the suspension of environmental licensing to BP and Total for their planned deep water drilling near the unique and vulnerable Amazon Reef biome.

2017 05 11 095232First images of the Amazon reef taken from a submarine launched from the MY Esperanza. The Greenpeace ship is currently in the region of the Amazon river mouth, Amapá State, for the “Defend the Amazon Reef” campaign. A team of experts are onboard, including some scientists of the group who discovered the coral reef at the mouth of the Amazon River. The launch of the submarine involved a large part of the ship's crew.

The prosecutor has intervened with IBAMA, the Brazilian environmental regulator responsible for issuing environmental licenses to operate, and will take legal action to suspend the licensing process if IBAMA rejects or fails to respond to their concerns within ten days. If IBAMA accepts the Prosecutor’s assessment, BP and Total will need to start a new Environmental Impact Assessment. The key issues the prosecutor has raised are the risks to the unique Amazon Reef which has not yet been adequately documented, and to the coastlines of neighbouring countries which could be exposed to an oil spill.

2017 05 11 093758According to the Prosecutor’s public statement, Total and BP "did not take into account the important ecosystem of the coral reef of the mouth of the Amazon River. Thus, exploration in an area close to [the reef system] corals, without adequate environmental impact study, can cause irreparable damage to this unique and little known biome."[1]

In response to the Prosecutor’s intervention, Greenpeace oil campaigner Sara Ayech said “BP and Total are proposing a technically challenging, risky deep water operation close to a unique and largely unexplored biome in an area with an unknown number of endangered species. As if that wasn’t reckless enough, the oil, if they find any, will just add to the enormous oversupply of fossil fuel we can’t afford to burn.

2017 05 11 093827“The Prosecutor’s concerns, on top of the flaws previously identified by IBAMA, highlight the fundamental failure of BP and Total to identify, let alone mitigate, the many serious risks posed by drilling in such a remote and sensitive location. BP and Total must cancel these dangerous projects before their negligence starts racking up victims.”

The Prosecutor also describes the international threat of drilling in the region, stating that the Federal  Prosecutor Office’s main objective in this case is “to prevent possible accidents and damages to the environment, besides avoiding a possible international conflict. Information from the exploration company itself confirms that a possible leak during oil activities can cause damage to the marine, physical and ecosystem environment, not only in Brazil, but also in neighbouring countries, especially the Caribbean region.”

This statement follows IBAMA’s recent decision to reject BP’s and Total’s oil spill modelling on the grounds that “it does not adequately represent the environmental variability of the region” and because  BP and Total failed to comply with previous requests for information. IBAMA also criticised the companies’ modelling as “statistically incoherent” in places.[2]

Earlier this year, Greenpeace launched a campaign to protect and explore the Amazon Reef - working with a team of researchers to produce the first underwater images of the ecosystem.[3] More than one million people around the world have already pledged to defend the reef, demanding that Total and BP drop their plans to drill nearby.  

[1] The entire Federal Prosecutor notes can be found here in Portuguese. Quotes are unofficial translations.

[2] Quotes are unofficial translations of IBAMA technical note PAR. 02022.000055/2017-43 UAL/IBAMA

Subject: Analysis of Environmental Impact Assessment of Offshore Drilling Activity in Blocks FZA-M-57, 86, 88, 125 and 127, Amazon mouth basin - Review 01 Operator: Total E&P of Brazil LTDA (Process: 02022.000327/2014-62).

[3] Additional documentation and the first ever underwater images of the Amazon Reef available here:


Xodus and Green Marine join forces on new integrated maintenance offering for offshore marine renewables

Xodus Group has formed a partnership with Orkney based Green Marine to launch a new integrated service for the maintenance of offshore renewable assets.

The lifecycle approach will utilise Xodus’ new integrity management software tool XAMIN to capture and monitor live data from offshore marine assets with Green Marine providing the physical offshore inspection and repair services.

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The one-stop solution aims to streamline an asset’s performance, providing efficiencies and preventing downtime, in particular targeting offshore wind, tidal and wave energy devices, cabling and associated infrastructure.

Wim van der Zande, CEO of Xodus Group said: “We believe XAMIN has great potential for renewable projects as it will improve the visibility of integrity issues and the partnership with Green Marine means that any anomalies can be inspected and dealt with before they grow into a major issue. The renewables sector has the opportunity to learn lessons from the oil and gas industry where poor data management is causing problems when identifying component condition or proving life extension. If the operator has centralised data management from the outset, failure modes can be identified, which removes doubt from fault investigations.”

2017 05 11 090806Green Marine (UK) Ltd is a multi-award winning company operating a fleet of eight vessels and barges and provides safe installation, removal and maintenance of a wide range of wind, tidal and wave energy devices and gravity bases.

Jason Schofield, managing director of Green Marine said: “We believe there is a gap in the market for a truly joined up integrity maintenance service and our partnership with Xodus will deliver efficiencies with significant positive impacts for the management and monitoring of subsea marine assets. We can help operators gain a better understanding of their components and also reduce risk, cost and downtime.”

XAMIN allows operators to capture design, installation, testing, operating, inspection and decommissioning information in a single system; reducing data losses, increasing efficiency of access and improving visibility of integrity issues. It is built around an asset hierarchy, allowing all data to be tagged to the appropriate component, which allows cross referencing. Within the operational phase XAMIN can collate all information being measured on the asset and cross reference to allow a complete picture of operability and integrity to be viewed. Once collated, data can be used to benchmark design assumptions and reduce safety margins or increase field life


Shell must take full responsibility for Brent clean-up - Greenpeace

Commenting on the arrival of the world's largest construction vessel in Hartlepool, as part of Shell's decommissioning work in the Brent oil field, Greenpeace UK's chief scientist Dr Doug Parr said:
2014 11 20 181558 greenp"What you see today is the welcome legacy of years of campaigning that have brought about international rules protecting our marine environment from discarded oil rigs. The basic principle that our seas cannot be used as the junkyard of the oil industry has prevailed. These international regulations now need to be defended and enforced. 
"Shell is asking the UK government for permission to leave behind the rig's huge concrete legs, and the oil residues they contain, to cut costs. Under the Ospar regulations, oil firms can only dump this infrastructure if they can prove that's more environmentally sound than attempting to remove it. Shell haven't produced any useful evidence to this effect, and are seem instead anxious to wriggle out of the proper process. The UK government should not bend the rules for the sake of Shell's profits but should uphold hard-won international laws.
"Shell and other oil firms have squeezed billions out of their platforms, driving climate change in the process. The least they can do is to take full responsibility for the clean-up."


OEM Group strengthens global footprint with new appointment

OEM Group has welcomed on board a new global business development manager as the company gears up for a significant period of growth in the UK and internationally. The firm created the position for industry veteran Jim George to support ongoing operations in Europe and the Middle East.

Mr George has more than four decades’ experience in the oil and gas industry with a track record across a diverse portfolio of companies covering operators as well as global supply chain firms.

His career includes 13 years at VetcoGray in various procurement roles culminating in category manager for the Eastern Hemisphere; eight years working in drilling waste management at Oil Tools Europe; two years at Kuehen + Nagel, the world’s third largest transportation and logistics firm; and most recently, as the UK supply chain manager at DOF Subsea.

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Based at OEM Group’s Aberdeen headquarters, Mr George will focus on all commercial matters as well as building and strengthening client relationships across all regions.

Barry Park, managing director of OEM Group, said: “Jim has a strong track record and a commendably deep knowledge of the oil and gas industry.

“I’m confident that given Jim’s previous successes across different types of businesses that his appointment will play a key role in developing strategic relationships in the UK and oversees in line with our business objectives and overall growth strategy.

“We look forward to Jim becoming an integral part of our team and an invaluable asset to OEM Group as we enter our fifth year in business.”

Mr George said: “Having seen how OEM Group has continued to flourish and grow during what has been the harshest fiscal climate for the oil and gas industry this century, it demonstrates that this is a company with a robust plan and vision, reliable products and services and strong leadership.

“It’s a truly exciting time to be joining the Group and I look forward to building on its current successes and being part of developing the company further.”


OTC 2017: Ampelmann introduces S-type Walk-to-Work system for the crew change market

Continuous, safe, lightweight, low power system is 30% more cost effective than helicopters

Ampelmann has designed its latest access system, the S-type, as a cost effective and safe option in the transportation of workers and luggage to and from offshore platforms.

The company, a leader in the provision of safe offshore access to the energy industry, is launching the new Walk-to-Work system as an alternative to using helicopters or baskets.

2017 05 10 082435In total, the cost of using the system will be around 30% cheaper than helicopters. The S-type builds on Ampelmann’s track-record of innovative design by incorporating a lightweight system that uses a low amount of energy to operate.

Aimed at the global oil and gas market where volume of crew is high and the sea state can be severe, the S-type can continuously transfer 50 people and luggage in five minutes in significant wave heights of up to three to four metres. The S-type design includes a separate luggage belt, can be tailored for installation to individual vessels and is expected to be a particularly attractive option on current or new build fast or light-weight medium-sized vessels; such as mono-hulls, catamarans and trimarans.

Gerbrand Marbus, Crew Change Market Manager, said: “The S-type can easily transfer more people at a time than helicopters and is a safe alternative. As the industry continues to look for ways to work more effectively, we have listened to operators requests and developed a system that should be an attractive option for companies as well as providing more comfortable transportation for their workforce.

“In developing the S-type we worked closely with vessel designers to provide an integrated package that has a reduced footprint and is lighter than comparable systems. With this integrated package, different clients can share logistics and see walk to work as an offshore bus service reducing their crew transportation costs by 30 to 40%. The technology used in the transportation system will place the S-type as a leader in the Walk to Work crew change market.”

The S-type provides a wide operational range thanks to its 360 degrees access and is a lightweight system with low energy consumption. In comparison, it is approximately half the weight and uses 50% less energy than typical similar systems.

In addition, the S-type occupies a small deck space and can be fully integrated with its host vessel. It requires no alterations to the receiving platform.

Ampelmann designs and delivers innovative, safe, reliable and efficient transfer solutions to the offshore energy industries globally. With a track record of more than three million safe people transfers, more than 1.5 million kg cargo transfers and 200 projects worldwide, Ampelmann operates in Europe, Africa, Asia Pacific, the Americas and the Middle East