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Petrobras specialists participate in Nobel Prize-winning project


The 2007 Nobel Peace Prize was delivered this Monday (12/10), in Oslo (Norway), to former US vice-president, Al Gore, and to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which is formed by 2,500 scientists. Petrobras participated in the prize via three researchers who are members of the IPCC’s team: Paulo Cunha, Petrobras Research Center (Cenpes) technical consultant; Paulo Rocha, senior consultant at the Bahia Exploration & Production business unit; and José Domingos Miguez, operating research analyst for the Safety, Environment and Health (SEH) area and currently assigned to the Ministry of Science and Technology.

The award acknowledges the importance of divulging information on climate change as well as regarding the measures that are required to mitigate it. This is the first time the Nobel Prize was not individual, as it was shared by Al Gore and by the members of the IPCC, which includes scientists from all over the world who discuss, compile, and divulge studies on climate changes. According to the Nobel Foundation, the honorees were ed “for their efforts in building and disseminating knowledge on artificial climate change and in establishing the technical bases to minimize it.”

“Al Gore’s work gave us visibility, as he became a spokesman for the cause. But the collective awards represent a change in paradigm, showing that the path to be followed is everyone’s contribution to transform the planet,” emphasized Paulo Cunha.

Petrobras’ employees were acknowledged for their special participation in the 140-page report titled “CO2 Capture, Storage and Sequestration.” Paulo Rocha is one of the authors of the Chapter on geological CO2 storage, written by 30 other scientists. Paulo Cunha, meanwhile, was one of the Brazilian revisers of the report’s entire content. The work covers carbon emissions, sequestration, storage, transportation and monitoring.

The three Petrobras employees were invited by the Brazilian Science & Technology Ministry to participate in the IPCC’s reports because they were experienced both in carbon injection projects for oil field recovery and in climate change.

The report the technicians participated in was wrapped-up in 2005 and deals with the greenhouse effect, which is heat retention on the earth due to the concentration of several types of gases in the atmosphere. The text includes information about carbon dioxide, such as: emission surveys, specific capturing techniques; transportation and storage in geological formations, in the sea, by mineralization or in industrial processes. Carbon sequestration is also analyzed from the economic and legal viewpoints.

To Paulo Cunha, the report is an important contribution to humanity, as it shows the importance of technology and its role in mitigating climate change. He also calls attention to the need to improve sequestration technologies to reduce costs and to implement more projects on the pilot and demonstration scale. To Cunha, “what matters most is that this is not a technological or scientific award, rather a peace award. This translates the wide range and depth of the technology we are working on and how it can facilitate peace processes in the world.”

Paulo Rocha, the E&P area representative, is an oil engineer and holds a doctorate from the University of Texas. He believes this award endorses the IPCC’s work, in addition to being recognition of the importance of ecological awareness. He highlighted the fact that environmental protection is widely disseminated in Petrobras.

Proclima - In 2007, the Cenpes created the Climate Change Technological Program (Proclima) aiming at reinforcing the research actions in this area, which in the past were dealt with in the context of the Environment Technological Program (Proamb). One of Proclima’s focal points is carbon sequestration.


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