UK Export Finance (UKEF) has sealed its first transaction facilitating oil and gas decommissioning, issuing a US$7.5mn guarantee for exports of equipment for removing cables and pipelines from Brazilian offshore rigs. 

The guarantee covers financing provided by ABC International Bank to Brazilian firm Ocyan, which the company used to purchase goods from Maritime Developments Ltd (MDL), an energy and infrastructure equipment provider and consultancy based in Aberdeen, Scotland. 

Ocyan initially ordered equipment from MDL in 2022, and has since removed hundreds of kilometres of subsea cables and pipes from oil and gas rigs that are no longer operational, UKEF says. 

The guarantee means Ocyan “can now finance the MDL contract on a reimbursement basis, boosting its access to working capital”, it adds. 

The deal was signed on April 12 and announced in early May. 

UKEF says the deal signals its ability “to provide continued support for decommissioning and renewable energy projects worldwide”. 

Charlotte Wiltshire, European head of wholesale banking at ABC International Bank, says: “This is an important milestone transaction, promoting the UK’s expertise in the oil and gas decommissioning and renewable energy arena.  

“Bank ABC is looking forward to enabling similar energy transition projects in future.” 

Martin Whalley, director of trade and investment for Brazil at the British Consulate in São Paulo, adds that the deal “highlights our dedication to aiding companies in transitioning away from oil and gas”.  

“With £5bn allocated to projects in Brazil, UKEF is at the forefront of supporting Brazilian enterprises in adopting more sustainable practices.” 

MDL’s involvement in the project stems from limitations in existing technology for recovering infrastructure from deep waters, explains managing director Andrew Blaquiere. 

“The alternative for these operations would be to use a specialist construction vessel, resulting in high cost and scheduling challenges,” he says. 

Instead, an existing vessel – Normand Cutter – has been kitted out “to handle high loads and tackle recovery projects, this way enabling more sustainable end-of-life operations”. 

The announcement marks another foray by UKEF into the deep-water technology market, having issued a guarantee to another Aberdeen-based technology provider, First Subsea, in 2021. 

UKEF has also previously been active in Brazil, including by issuing an £89mn guarantee in 2022 for a loan provided by JP Morgan in support of Brazilian aerospace manufacturer Embraer.