IBP1606_12 ENVIRONMENTAL RISK ASSESSMENT (ERA) FOR OFFSHORE PROJECTS: CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES Ana Cristina Santos1, Julio

Pellegrini2, Gabriela Azevedo3, Anna Paula Fagundes4, Thais Echebarrena5, Adriana Moreira6, Silvia Schaffel7, Natalia Santos8
Copyright 2012, Brazilian Petroleum, Gas and Biofuels Institute - IBP
This Technical Paper was prepared for presentation at the Rio Oil & Gas Expo and Conference 2012, held between September, 1720, 2012, in Rio de Janeiro. This Technical Paper was selected for presentation by the Technical Committee of the event according to the information contained in the final paper submitted by the author(s). The organizers are not supposed to translate or correct the submitted papers. The material as it is presented, does not necessarily represent Brazilian Petroleum, Gas and Biofuels Institute’ opinion, or that of its Members or Representatives. Authors consent to the publication of this Technical Paper in the Rio Oil & Gas Expo and Conference 2012 Proceedings.

Abstract
The Environmental Risk Assessment (ERA) consists of a risk assessment, which considers the probability of components with environmental value (CEV) being reached by oil in case of a spillage. This approach allows it to be a more comprehensive analysis, despite the complexity inherent in the process. Thus, while the operation risk is focused on the operation failure of equipment and implemented procedures, the relative risk to the environment is concerned to the environmental resources in the region and around where the activity will be developed, and which therefore may be impacted. For ERA to be performed is necessary: to calculate the Operational Risk, results from Numerical Oil Modeling, to identify the CEV with their Recovery Period, and to define the probability of particular CEV being reached by an oil volume range. Integrating these types of analyzes is possible to calculate the environmental risk for each volume range and seasonal scenario. Thus, a methodological approach was developed in which, after several analyzes in different regions, were observed improvement opportunities and challenges in studies of Oil and Gas licensing, here presented. More than a new methodology, the ERA is a more comprehensive analysis and advanced tool to support the Environmental Impact Assessment, since it integrates three important areas, so far presented separately during the Licensing Process, within a single indicator or overall tolerability index, which simplifies the process of assessing the viability and risks of a proposed offshore oil and gas project.

1. Introduction
The Environmental Agency of Brazil - IBAMA, in charge of the Licensing Process of Offshore Oil and Gas Exploration and Production activities in the country, has launched in 2009 a new Term of Reference (TOR) requesting an environmental risk assessment. Thus, in order to meet these new requirements, it was developed a study based on the interpretation of the IBAMA’s requests. The multidisciplinary team composed by biologists, oceanographers, engineers, as well as risk assessment, modeling and GIS experts has developed four ERAs studies for the Offshore Permitting Processes in Brazilian O&G activities. The lessons learned reflect challenges and opportunities, as mentioned in the next items.

______________________________ 1 Chemical Engineer, M. Sc. - AECOM 2 Oceanographer, D. Sc. - PROOCEANO 3 Biologist, M. Sc. - AECOM 4 Biologist, M. Sc. - PROOCEANO 5 Chemical Engineer - AECOM 6 Biologist, M. Sc. - AECOM 7 Naval Engineer, D. Sc. - AECOM 8 Oceanographer - PROOCEANO

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2. ERA Methodology and Key Definitions
The ERA methodology is based on three main steps: calculus of operational risk, results from numerical oil modeling, identification of Components with Environmental Value (CEV) with their Recovery Period and probability of particular CEV being reached by an oil volume range. Integrating these types of analyzes is possible to calculate the environmental risk for each volume range and seasonal scenario. Figure 1 presents the ERA framework.
Environmental Components and Recovery Period

Operational Risk

Oil Modeling Deliverables

Environmental Risk Calculation
Figure 1. Environmental Risk Assessment Framework 2.1. Operational Risk Operational Risk, which corresponds to one of the necessary requirements to calculate the Environmental Risk, is obtained by applying the technique of Preliminary Hazard Analysis - PHA for systems of drilling/production units as well as for support structures to activities. Specifically for the ERA, the subject of interest is the frequencies of accidental hypotheses that result in oil spills at sea, i.e., which results in environmental contamination. The frequencies are determined through the process flowcharts of the drilling/production units (Process Flow Diagrams – PFD, Piping and Instrumentation Diagrams - P&ID’s, General Arrangement, etc), from which it is possible to determine the equipment/accessories involved in each analyzed system and extracting from the database their respective failure rates. According CONAMA No. 398/2008 Resolution, accidental hypotheses related to each one of the analyzed systems are divided up to three categories according to the volume released, after that frequencies are summed per volume category. This is presented on Figure 2.

F total-1 V ≤ 8 m³ (Small Spillage)

F total-2 8 m³ < V ≤ 200 m³ (Medium Spillage)

F total-3 V > 200 m³ (Large Spillage)

Figure 2. Volume ranges used in ERA (established in CONAMA Resolution 398/08).

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2.2. Environmental Components and Recovery Period As part from the calculation of the Environmental Risk, is necessary to identify the Components with Environmental Value (CEV) and the establishment of their recovery times. The recovery time is the duration which a CEV, after being reached, leads to recover to levels preceding the oil exposure. The recovery period of each CEV, essential for the calculation of tolerance, is estimated using information available in specialized bibliographies both national and international. According IBAMA’s determination in the TOR for Environmental Licensing of Offshore Activities, the CEVs must be defined based on: • • • Have significant presence in the affected area; Be vulnerable to oil pollution/contamination; Fulfill the following criteria: To be relevant (not only economically) for the local community, or To be of national or international interest, or To be ecologically relevant.

Table 1 below presents the classes of recovery periods and its respective consequence categories used in our studies. Table 1. Classes of Recovery Period X Consequence Categories

Classes of Recovery Periods 0,1 – 1 year 1 – 3 years 3 – 10 years > 10 years

Consequence Categories Minor Moderate Considerate Severe

The CEV can be biological communities and/or ecosystems, giving priority to sensitive ecosystems and communities that have endemic and/or endangered species. Once the CEVs were identified, we carried out the mapping in terms of coverage area, using available information in the literature, organizations and environmental agencies, as well as in the own developed environmental study. The mapping results are used together with the results of the oil modeling for calculating the probability of CEV being reached by oil in each volume range. 2.3. Oil Modeling Results Regarding the oil modeling, one of the main points to be highlighted is the fact that, in studies near the coast, when oil arrives ashore in less than 60 hours, it is necessary to develop studies with higher degrees of refinement and therefore more complex. In these cases, it must be considered the influence of relevant phenomena in coastal environments (tides, for example) whose spatial and temporal scales are completely different from offshore studies. Figure 3 shows a hypothetical case of an offshore spill at Campos Basin. Usually, in this kind of study, a 2.5x2.5 Km grid and 20 minutes of time step are more than fine to represent the spatial and temporal variabilities inherent to the interest region. More refined than these would enhance the computational cost necessary to modeling the case, enlarging the time of elaborating the study.

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Figure 3. Oil probability (left panel) and oil arrival time (right panel) on a hypothetical spill at an offshore area of Campos Basin. The models numerical solution in estuary and bays regions, for example, requires, necessarily, that grids of hydrodynamic model need to be as resolute as possible. This aspect represents a challenge, regarding the computational cost X quality of desired results and, again, can impact the time to elaborating the study. Figure 4 presents a hypothetic case of an oil spill at Guanabara Bay, where the grid and the time step of the model were adjusted to represent all the coastal variabilities.

Figure 4. Hypothetical case of a spill on Guanabara Bay showing the grid used (left panel) and the oil probability result (right panel). In red on the right panel is the CEV Mangrove. 2.4. Integration of the 3 Pillars: Environmental Risk One of the most challenging points of the methodology is the correlation and integration of its 3 pillars: Operational Risk, Mathematical Modeling and Environmental Resources (Environmental Components and Recovery Period). The integration of these areas provide the necessary information for the environmental risk assessment approach, which will lead to the tolerability index, goal of the ERA study. The Environmental Risk (ERcomp(x)) is the risk of a Component with Environmental Value (CEV) to be reached within a specific volume range. 4

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So, the ERcomp(x) = Ftotal-y x Prob(x), where F is the overall frequency of the accidental scenarios in volume range y; Prob(x) is the overall probability of oil reaching CEV-x for a certain volume range and season; and y is the volume range. After the calculation of the Environmental Risk, the next step is to determine if the risk value is considered tolerable, or if the recovery time of CEV is negligible compared to the recurrence time of damage. Thus, the presence of a particular enterprise can be considered tolerable, if a recovery time of the environmental component has duration insignificant compared to the expected recurrence period of damage. The tolerability of risk can be understood as a limit in which risks are acceptable. In the event of intolerable risk the procedures and facilities that originated the framework of risks and accidental scenarios will be reviewed and new calculations will be performed.

3. Challenges and Opportunities
3.1. Operational Risk Regarding the operational risk, given the importance in analyzed hypotheses frequencies to calculate the Environmental Risk, it needs to be adopted premises that make possible turn the systems assessment closest to the reality of the operating unit. For this, it is necessary that the analysis of the systems is performed together with operating units members. This point is often a challenge because those studies designed to support the environmental licenses being made over a period well before the start of activities. Thus, in some cases the operator does not have a contract with the unit, a fact that makes it difficult to obtain specific information and leads to the adoption of generic concepts. Another issue that complicates the approximation to operational reality of the values obtained to the frequencies of the systems under consideration, concerns to the databases of which are extracted the failure rates of constituent components of each system. The databases contemplate, for obtaining the statistical data, units built at different times. Thus, since it is analyzing a new unit, which has modern safety devices, and it is considered the failure rates obtained from databases, the occurrence determination of a particular event may be very conservative. In addition, due to the lack of specific databases to offshore processes, many failure rates are obtained from generic databases applicable to industrial facilities. Based on the foregoing, it is noted that the work together with the operator is extremely important for determining the frequency closest to the operational reality, therefore generates results tolerability closer to the reality. Also, such conduct has an impact in the time of elaboration the study. The ERA approach connects results for the Risk Assessment, so far focused on the operation failure of equipment and procedures implemented, to the environmental resources in the region and around where the activity will be developed, and which therefore may be impacted. So, the operator can intervene in its activity (for instance: choosing the more suitable season considering the environmental risk results - winter/summer to operate or selecting rigs/units with specific characteristics, such as double hull, that can exert a great influence on the final results) in order to protect the most vulnerable Components with Environmental Value identified in the study. 3.2. Environmental Components and Recovery Period Regarding the identification of the Components with Environmental Value and establishment of recovery periods in the ERAs developed, it is important to highlight that the establishment of the recovery time of the CEVs is admittedly one of the most difficult items of ERA and for the scientific community itself. Greatest difficulties are concentrated in information about how that community was composed before the impact happen. In addition, establish when a community or an ecosystem can be considered recovered, is a constant discussion issue among scientists and is the subject of several studies produced worldwide. Previous studies about species that live in the impacted area are extremely important, because some issues that must be answered are based on this information, such as: reproductive season of species, as well as the number of reproductive periods per year, number of youngers that are born, how many animals were lost with the spill and 5

Rio Oil & Gas Expo and Conference 2012 population size before. In addition, it is necessary to have information after the spill, such as: how many individuals are left? It is extremely important to perform further base studies so that it is possible to appropriately establish values of recovery time. In addition, further studies on oil impact must be made with species usually found in the Brazilian coast. While such information is not available, we use international studies performed and it is estimated rather conservative values for communities and ecosystems likely to be impacted. The Components with Environmental Value identified in the ERAs developed were: coral reefs, beaches, mangroves, marine mammals, sea turtles, fishing resources and sea birds. 3.3. Oil Modeling Deliverables Regarding the oil modeling, the most challenging aspect lays on the hydrodynamic model. The grid resolution needs to be as much resolute as possible to represent all the variabilities - temporal and spatial - present in the study area. Nevertheless, it is always necessary to take into account the computational cost X quality of desired results. Particularly in offshore studies, the enhanced accuracy of results for coastal regions can lead to better subsidies for Individual Emergency Plan, for example. Finally, Tables 2 and 3 summarizes the challenges faced and opportunities that could emerge due to the development of the ERAs. Table 2. Challenges of each ERA Pillar

ERA Pillars

Operational Risk

Oil Modeling Deliverables

Environmental Components and Recovery Period

Challenges a) Turn the drilling/production unit systems closest to the reality of the operating unit, instead of adopting generic concepts; b) Lack of specific databases for failure rates to offshore processes (many are obtained from generic databases applicable to industrial facilities). c) Higher degrees of refinement/complexity of oil modeling for oil arrives ashore in less than 60 hours (spatial and temporal scales are completely different from offshore studies); d) Computational cost X quality of desired results X time for elaboration the study. e) Establishment of the recovery time of the CEVs; f) Establish when a community or an ecosystem can be considered recovered; g) Lack of previous studies and of biology of the species that live in the area that could be potentially impacted so that it is possible to appropriately establish values of recovery time; h) Lack of studies on oil impact made with species usually found in the Brazilian coast (international studies have been used and it is estimated rather conservative values for communities and ecosystems likely to be impacted).

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Rio Oil & Gas Expo and Conference 2012 Table 3. Opportunities for each ERA Pillar

ERA Pillars a)

Operational Risk

b)

Oil Modeling Deliverables Environmental Components and Recovery Period

c)

i) j)

Opportunities Connect the results for the Risk Assessment to the environmental resources in the region and around where the activity will be developed; Allow the operators to identify critical systems inside the units which may be changed adding safeguards, for example, in order to help the decrease of risk value. Particularly in offshore studies, the enhanced accuracy of results for coastal regions can lead to better subsidies for Individual Emergency Plan, for example. Promotion of studies of biology of the species that live in the area that could be potentially impacted; Promotion of studies on oil impact made with species usually found in the Brazilian coast.

4. Conclusion
The ERA is a methodology that correlates three important areas of environmental impact assessments (Operational Risk, Mathematical Modeling and Environmental Resources) answering directly on the viability of the enterprise, not only regarding operational safety (scope of traditional risk analysis), but also in relation to the environmental risk of the enterprise area. Considering the issues raised in this work we can say that there are uncertainties involved in the process, in terms of basic information of these three areas, which should be minimized so that the results be closer to the reality. For this happen, every step of the methodology should be carefully observed and a closer relationship between the operator, consultants and competent public agencies should be searched to obtain better results. This paper presented challenges and opportunities regarding the key steps of the ERA development: the calculation of the operational risk, mathematical modeling and environmental resources (Environmental Components and Recovery Period), summarized in the items above. Finally, the Environmental Risk Assessment (ERA) consists of an innovative methodology for oil and gas permitting and licensing in Brazil developed addressing new requirements for offshore permitting and licensing of oil and gas exploration and production operations established by the Environmental Agency of Brazil (IBAMA). But more than a new methodology, it is a more comprehensive analysis and advanced tool to support the Environmental Impact Assessment, since it integrates three important areas of Environmental Impact Assessment studies: Operational Risk, Mathematical Modeling and Environmental Resources within a single indicator or overall tolerability index, which simplifies the process of assessing the viability and risks of a proposed offshore oil & gas project.

6. References
CONAMA No. 398/2008 Resolution.

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