Decommissioning offshore oil and gas production installations have been progressively increasing the concern of the industry, government and other interest groups through the last years. There are at least two reasons for this sudden regard. First, it is the maturing of several oil and gas fields around the world in recent years. Second, it is the growing impact of environmental concerns in international affairs.
Despite several works published address to some techniques and to potential problems and risks related to decommissioning offshore oil and gas production installations its procedures are in some extent an innovative issue, especially in Brazil.
Therefore, the motivation of this paper is subject novelty in Brazil, since national industry is just beginning to deal with the end-of-leasing obligations, which involve decommissioning operations. The main ambition is to stimulate debate about appropriate issues.
Decommissioning refers to the dismantling, decontamination and removal of process equipment and facility structures. It may be described as the best way to shut down production operation at the end of a field's life. This involves a multidisciplinary process, which requires a delicate balance among environmental, health & safety risks and social-economic considerations.
In the late 90's, this balance was disturbed by a turning point fact on decommissioning history: the experience of UK operator with its spar buoy in Brent (UK sector in North Sea). Although UK Government were in full agreement and support deep sea dumping option proposed, the European consumer perception forced the operator to seek another solution: cut its ‘Brent Spar’ in pieces and use it in a quay extension in Norway.
Despite this solution had been more expensive, less safe to the workforce, had consumed a large amount of energy and had entailed risks to coastal navigation routes and environments; it had full European public opinion agreement.
Since then, every stage in a decommissioning process should be informed to the society. Even if their approval will never be fully measured, quite certainly their disapproval will have major economic consequences for any operator who fails in his communication plans.
Therefore, the current paper has as proposal the improvement of decommissioning debate in Brazil rather than to propose specific solutions. For so, this paper realizes concise review of decommissioning offshore oil and gas production activities worldwide. Then, it assets which may be the methodology to achieve the best decommissioning option regarding environmental issues.
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Brazilian According to the international literature, U.S. Gulf of Mexico and North of Sea regions presents the Importance on Deco