Brazil’s Petrobras says it is committed to the transition to a low-carbon economy but is aware that even in the most accelerated climate scenario aligned to the Paris Agreement, oil and gas demand will be high in the years to come.

Decarbonising oil production and slashing greenhouse gas emissions are therefore key to the energy transition.

“Oil and gas currently still supply more than 50% of the primary energy in the world,” says Petrobras executive manager of climate change Viviana Coelho, speaking in Upstream’s latest digital forum.

However, she highlights it is important that operators around the world produce oil with reduced carbon intensity in their respective roads to net-zero emissions.

“When we talk about oil and gas being produced with zero emissions, we are talking about 4 gigatonnes less emissions in the world,” she says.

“That is more than half the emissions in transportation nowadays, so that is the size of the prize of operating well in our industry.”

Over the past decade, Petrobras has reduced emissions by more than 20% and the company has set ambitious targets for 2025 and 2030 to continue on that path, with remarkable results so far in its most prolific play.

Coelho adds: “The world’s average emissions per barrel of oil equivalent produced is 70% higher than what Petrobras has achieved in the pre-salt.”

To continue reducing its emissions, Petrobras is working on alternatives to eliminate flaring while developing new technologies, such as an all-electric concept for forthcoming floating production, storage and offloading vessels.

Equipment on future FPSOs will be powered with electricity rather than fossil fuels, potentially reducing greenhouse gas emissions by up to 20% in the process.

Petrobras also operates the world’s largest carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS) programme, which according to Coelho, has so far reinjected 10 million tonnes of carbon dioxide back into reservoirs.

“Before the all-electric, the latest generation of FPSOs were already 16% more efficient than platforms that entered operations two years earlier, so you can see how fast we are improving efficiency,” she explains.

“It is going to get to a point where efficiency will be so high that the next step will be to discuss the decarbonisation of the energy source, involving more CCUS or perhaps renewables in oil and gas operations.”

Brazilian offshore service providers are also looking at ways to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.

Shipping group OceanPact is looking at how to build efficiency and avoid using more fuel than necessary in its vessels, says chief executive Flavio Andrade.

“We are thinking of having vessels with hybrid propulsion, meaning upgrading our fleet that runs on diesel to a hybrid system with batteries, which can reduce fuel consumption by up to 20%,” Andrade says.

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