Ibama Seeks More Details on El Paso's Pinauna Field Development

Brazil's federal environmental protection agency Ibama has asked US energy company El Paso (NYSE: EP) to provide more information on the offshore Pinauna development oil project.

Ibama needs the information before it can allow the project to go forward, Ibama licensing department head Luiz Kunz told BNamericas.

Ibama wants more detail on the project's environmental impacts. In addition, the agency wants to know which accident prevention and containment programs the company would implement in case it discovers more oil reserves in the same block or field.

"We want more details on possible impact and accident control programs in case the company discovers more reserves in the block," Kunz said. "These are normal requirements for any licensing authority no matter whether they are in Brazil or Alaska."

It would take about one hour for any oil spill from the field to reach shore, which houses one of the most well-preserved mangrove swamps in Brazil, Kunz said.

"We have to take special care about the effects on the local environment and the tourism industry there, which is very important," according to Kunz, who could not give a schedule for when the license would be awarded since it depends on EL Paso sending more information.

El Paso confirmed it is preparing to send Ibama more information but could not immediately comment further.

The company has announced plans to invest US$90mn in the Pinauna field's M-Cal4 block. The field in Bahia state's Camamu-Almada basin is some 12km from shore in shallow waters and has reserves of 33-35 million barrels of paraffin oil, the company said.

El Paso, which owns 100% of the field, expects to start producing some 11,000 barrels a day in the field next year. The company has also announced an exploration drilling campaign in parts of the BM-CAL4 block around the Pinauna field since it considers it a promising region for oil and gas.

El Paso has interests in 15 exploration blocks in Brazil including another four blocks in the Camamu-Almada basin.

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