3.4.3Environment

The Company endeavours to operate in an environmentally responsible and sustainable manner, in order to minimize impact to local ecosystems as well as proactively protect the environment, paying particular attention to three key environmental challenges:

  • Oil spills – by strictly following set procedures in operations and ensuring control measures are in place
  • Unnecessary flaring or emissions into the sea or air – by preventing when possible
  • Excessive use of energy and waste – by encouraging reduced consumption and re-use

During 2015, The Company continued to undertake its environmental performance reporting in alignment with the reporting guidelines from the International Association of Oil and Gas Producers.

Key results

  • Offshore GHG 1 emissions from energy generation and gas flared per production increased by 38% compared to 2014, which is 20% above the the industry benchmark2. A total of 5.9 million tonnes of GHG have been produced in 2015, representing 177.9 tonnes of GHG per thousand tonnes of hydrocarbon produced. This large increase in 2015 is mainly due to the unavailability of the LNG terminal in Angola with the decision from the clients to flare the gas not re-injected into the reservoir. This has resulted in an 83% increase in the volume of GHG emissions per hydrocarbon production in Angola compared to 2014 (458.8 in 2015 compared to 248.8 in 2014). In addition, part of the flaring on one new unit was associated with the start-up of the offshore field production while completing the commissioning of the gas injections systems.
  • As a result, total gas flared in 2015 was 30.9 tonnes per thousand tonnes of hydrocarbons produced, which is 93% more than 2014 (16 tonnes) and well above the industry benchmark3. It must be noted that 88% of the gas flared was requested by clients or did not exceed the client allowance, with solely 12% of the gas flared under SBM Offshore control. The volume of gas flared on SBM Offshore account has decreased from 162,572 tonnes in 2014 to 120,491 tonnes in 2015, representing a volume of 3.6 tonnes of gas flared per thousand tonnes of hydrocarbon produced compared to 5.6 tonnes in 2014. This 36% reduction in flaring on the Company’s account has substantially exceeded the target reduction of 10%4. The Company has decided to continue with the same target of 10% reduction of flaring on SBM Offshore account in 2016. In this context a ‘CO2 challenge’ was launched in 2015 with the objectives to find quick and effective solutions to reduce CO2 emissions of the fleet with a bottom-up approach
  • The rate of energy5 used to produce oil and gas has improved for the second consecutive year (0.92 gigajoules of energy per tonnes of hydrocarbon produced compared to 0.96 in 2014 and 1.05 in 2013), which is 39% better than the industry benchmark6
  • Reductions in the volume of oil discharged to sea per volume of hydrocarbon produced continued also for the second consecutive year. The average volume of oil discharged was 2.9 tonnes per million tonnes of hydrocarbon produced, representing a 11% decrease compared to 2014 (3.3 tonnes) and 64% less than the industry benchmark7
  • A total of 11 spills resulting in the release of oil and chemicals to sea have been reported offshore in 2015. Out of the 11 spills, six involved the release of hydrocarbons and five were chemicals spills. The total volume of uncontained hydrocarbon spills is estimated at 0.19 cubic metres, much reduced from the 1.06 cubic metres in 2014. None of these spills were above one barrel (159L) which means that the normalized number of oil spill offshore greater than one barrel per million tonnes of hydrocarbon produced is 0 for 2015, while the the industry benchmark of 0.158

Key achievements

  • Maintenance of all existing environmental certifications (ISO14001) on marine units and shorebases.
  • Monthly monitoring of environmental emissions (GHG emissions, Flaring, Oil in Produced Water, Energy consumption, and Loss of containments).

Specific actions

CO2 Challenge

To help achieve SBM Offshore’s ambitious targets for reduction, The Company has developed the CO2 Challenge. Teams from Regional Centres and Operations have been selected to develop creative and innovative solutions to reduce the amount of CO2 that SBM Offshore releases as part of its activities. This talented group of young SBMers hail from a variety of disciplines within SBM Offshore and have been assigned specific FPSO/MOPUs which they are developing a solution for. The CO2 reducing solutions will be presented in 2016 and the selected winning teams will implement their solutions offshore. Already in 2015, the creative problem solving and innovation ideas have been demonstrated and there is no doubt that ideas stemming from this initiative will be implemented in current production and in future designs.

Guanabara Blue Project

To manage environmental impact and to work with local employees where SBM Offshore operates, SBM Offshore do Brasil recently created the Pacto Guanabara Blue with the joint support of the Guanabara Bay Institute. This charter aims to bring greater visibility to environmental actions taken by the users of the Guanabara Bay in Rio de Janeiro and garner support from a variety of companies, institutions and associations that use the bay and work on the bay, to strengthen environmental education and cleaning activities. The charter is based on the belief that uniting everyone can make a difference. The Pacto Guanabara Blue was officially launched in October 2015 to companies, organizations, students, NGOs, environment-related professionals, and local bodies.

SBM Offshore Ship recycling Program

In early 2015, FPSOs Kuito and Brasil completed the last journeys to the shipyards for their green ship recycling. The statements of completion have been received for each vessel which testify that each ship has been recycled in accordance with SBM Offshore’s Vessel Recycling Policy and as per International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships (the ‘Hong Kong Convention’) of the International Maritime Organization of the United Nations. FPSO Kuito’s green recycling was successfully completed in September at Öge yard, Turkey, while FPSO Brasil’s recycling was completed in October at the Changhon yard, Zhoushan, China.

Operational considerations also influenced certain choices, such as the location for FPSO Brasil’s recycling. Originally intended to be sold to buyers with a Turkish recycling yard, plans were changed once it was discovered that the hull marine growth contained a sun coral species (Tubastraea coccinea). In accordance with the UNEP Barcelona Convention which regulates the introduction of a new species into Mediterranean waters, the project decided to take the vessel to China where the species already exists, rather than to Turkey which has not a native habitat for sun coral.

In respect of corporate social responsibility and sustainability principles, SBM Offshore chose to remain close to the process and monitor the recycling activities, subcontracting an independent third party – Sea2Cradle – to be ‘eyes and boots’ at each yard for the entire project. This hands-on approach resulted in smooth execution and satisfactory completion of both projects, with no damage to the environment, no spills, and no hazardous materials identified.

SBM Offshore’s vessel recycling policy has now been mapped into the SBM Offshore Management system GEMS. The Company proves that the know-how of green decommissioning and with greenfield projects being scarce and some ageing facilities providing little incentive to maintain production, orders for brownfield decommissioning projects are likely to increase in the next few years.

New Amsterdam Headquarters

In August 2015, the Company moved its headquarters to an office at Schiphol airport in Amsterdam. This office, ‘The Base’, is certified ‘Very Good’ according to BREEAM standards. BREEAM is the sustainability quality mark that assesses buildings around the world in terms of energy, ecology, transport, materials and health and sets the bar for best practice in sustainable building design. Some of the main innovative and environmentally friendly design measures include the use of renewable energy sources, the cooling system and environmentally efficient lighting through HF lighting and daylight control. Construction materials, from paint to adhesives, wood or other materials have all been chosen to have no or limited emissions of volatile organic compounds. Materials used were only originating from responsible sources, i.e. companies with a certified environmental management system.