Petrobras files request for widespread offshore wind lease areas

Sept. 14, 2023
Petrobras has submitted a request to Ibama to start the environmental licensing process for ten areas around Brazil’s coasts for offshore wind developments.

Jeremy Beckman * Editor-Europe

RIO DE JANEIRO – Petrobras has submitted a request to Ibama, the institute of environment and renewable natural resources, to start the environmental licensing process for ten areas around Brazil’s coasts for offshore wind developments.

Seven areas are in the north-east (three in Rio Grande do Norte, three in Ceará and one in Maranhão); two in the south-east (one in Rio de Janeiro and one in Espírito Santo; and one off southern Brazil (in Rio Grande do Sul).

In combination, the areas offer the potential to develop offshore wind projects with a capacity of up to 23 GW.

Petrobras said the request to start licensing signals its interest in developing its own projects, in addition to ongoing partnership projects such as the offshore wind areas it has been studying jointly with Equinor.

They are assessing the technical, economic and environmental viability of seven Brazilian offshore wind power generation projects with the potential to generate up to 14.5 GW.

Petrobras added that it was already conducting the country’s largest wind mapping campaign, having this year completed a decade of offshore wind measurements, and it has stepped up wind measurement activity at certain offshore locations to support assessment of the technical feasibility of future offshore wind energy installations.

This could include six platforms in shallow waters off the coasts of the states of Rio Grande do Norte, Ceará and Espírito Santo.

The area chosen in the state of Rio de Janeiro is the only one in a water depth greater than 100 m, where the installations will be floating. This opens the path to future integration and supply of energy to the company's production platforms.

The request to IBAMA does not guarantee Petrobras the right to these areas, that will depend on a process to be conducted in accordance with regulations under discussion in Brazil’s National Congress.

 “We are preparing the company to become the largest developer of wind energy projects in Brazil,” said Petrobrás CEO Jean Paul Prates. “We are the company that has the most knowledge of the Brazilian offshore environment and we have a tradition in maritime operations that can bring relevant synergies to offshore wind projects. The development of our own projects does not diminish in any way our interest in developing partnership projects, which could be established in these same areas in the future.”

“The technology for floating wind turbines has been developed very quickly and offers advantages for construction and installation, as it can be assembled in a port, on the coast, and towed to the installation site, without the need for specific vessels for installing wind turbines at sea,” said Petrobrás’ energy transition officer, Maurício Tolmasquim.