Originally published March 21, 2011

Keywords: ANP, Brazilian National Petroleum Agency, Technical Regulation for Relinquishment of Concession Areas in Exploratory Phase, transportation, disposal, waste

ANP (Brazilian National Petroleum Agency) Resolution No. 13, published on February 24, 2011, approves the Technical Regulation for Relinquishment of Concession Areas in Exploratory Phase (the "Regulation") and revokes ANP Ordinance No. 114/2001. The Regulation provides procedures to be used in the relinquishment of areas in exploratory phase.

The Regulation establishes guidelines for the deactivation of facilities used in exploratory activities. It also addresses several relevant environmental issues in connection with the relinquishment of areas in exploratory phase, such as compliance with the deactivation program approved by the relevant environmental agency; the treatment, transportation and disposal of solid waste; the necessary measures for cases in which removal of facilities is not recommended; and the possibility of ANP requesting environmental audit reports.

The Regulation provides that the concessionaire is responsible for the deactivation of facilities in connection with its exploratory activities, including the environmental recovery of the area. Therefore, it establishes that the deactivation process must comply with the deactivation program approved by the environmental agency that granted the environmental permit for the activity.

Regarding the waste management issue, the Regulation provides that solid waste must be properly classified for the adequate subsequent disposal. Hence, hazardous waste must be disposed in specific landfills, while regular waste must be treated as required by the applicable environmental laws.

The Regulation also establishes that, due to safety or environmental protection reasons, the alternative of maintaining the structures used in exploratory activities can be considered, as long as justified by the concessionaire and approved by the competent environmental agency. In such cases, the structures must be free of products that may cause pollution and must not cause risks of any kind.

In areas in which structures are effectively removed, the Regulation provides that the environmental recovery must include, among other procedures: (i) the removal of any material or product used in the activity; (ii) the removal and treatment of contaminated soil; (iii) the revegetation of deactivated areas; and (iv) the backfill of all openings.

Lastly, the Regulation provides for the minimum requirements of the Relinquishment Report, set forth in the concession agreement, which must include measures to minimize environmental impacts and to prevent pollution. In this respect, the Regulation provides for the possibility of ANP requesting periodic monitoring reports covering the accomplishment of the activities set forth in the Relinquishment Report, as well as environmental audit reports confirming their proper implementation.

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