ONGC VIDESH takes up an environmental R&D project in Brazil

ONGC Videsh

ONGC Campos Ltd (OCL) the subsidiary of ONGC Videsh Limited (OVL) in Brazil has entered into a contract with the Universidade Federal de Juiz de Fora (Federal University of Juiz de Fora), Brazil on June 24, 2014 for the conduct of a R&D project relating to environmental protection and Oil & Gas Offshore E&P Industry.

The objective of the project is to develop methods for acoustic monitoring of cetaceans in order to assess their seasonal distribution and relative density.  The research will focus on both small cetaceans (e.g. the franciscana, the guiana dolphin and the bottlenose dolphin) and large whales (the humpback and the Bryde's). Currently, the major anthropogenic threats to marine mammals are habitat degradation, fishing activities and collisions with vessels of which some are directly associated with the various stages of E&P activities. This includes seismic surveys, dredging, drilling and production operations in offshore facilities increase in ship traffic and anthropogenic underwater noise. The study not only plans to develop acoustic methods to allow continuous monitoring of the marine habitat and population assessment of important species of the ecosystem but also to contribute in technological and methodological improvement as well as human resources training. Data collection will be accomplished by deploying three moored passive acoustic hydrophone systems in different physiographic domains near Bacia de Santos (Santos Basin). The data collected will be stored with the instruments and retrieved when they are recycled (typically every 2 months). The researchers have suggested that deployment location of these systems can be discussed with ONGC.

The project with a strong focus on research and development, capacity building and environmental monitoring has a planned duration of two years with a total cost of approx. 1 million Brazilian Reals.

The project which is fully developed and executed by the Laboratory of Behavioral Ecology and Bioacoustics (LABEC) of the University and under coordination of Dr. Artur Andriolo (Department of Zoology), is being conducted as part of the obligations of OCL towards conduct of R&D activities in Brazil as per the BC10 concession agreement. ANP, the regulator for oil and gas industry in Brazil, had earlier approved the project.

The Universidade Federal de Juiz de Fora (UFJF) founded in 1960 and located in the city of Juiz de Fora, Minas Gerais state (Southeast Region of Brazil), is one of Brazil’s top ranking universities.  Apart from graduate and post graduate courses, the University focuses on numerous research programs.

ONGC Videsh Limited acquired 15% Participating Interest in a deep water producing block BC-10 in April 2006. The stake of ONGC Videsh in the project, located in the Campos Basin of Brasil offshore, increased to 27% in December 2013 with Shell Brasil (Operator) and Qatar Petroleum International holding 50% and 23% stake respectively. The project is currently producing around 66,000 barrels of oil per day.