The 2018 General Meeting was held on April 13th at Statoil, at Fornebu. A mingling session with refreshments opened the activities.
Before the General Meeting, the head of communication for Statoil Brasil, Øisten Johannessen, gave a presentation where he updated the audience about the company’s priorities for the next years and presented their expectations for Brazil moving forward, and maturing as a core area.
According to Johannessen, Statoil has created knowledge along the 15 years of operation in Brazil. Now they are well known to Brazil, and how it works and they feel confident with the diversified portfolio of activities at all stages of development, from the … to the production. He talked about the most significant project of Statoil in Brazil, Peregrino and gave an update on other licenses, partnerships, cooperation and Statoil’s investment in renewable energy in the country. Johannessen recognizes the importance of partnerships to make projects more dynamic and bring different perspectives. He also updated the audience on the new collaboration with Petrobras with their participation in Roncador, which creates a potential for additional value generation for both parties by applying Statoil’s knowledge and experience in Increased Oil Recovery (IOR).
Statoil is committed to develop local capacity for the industry and actively participates in projects that favour technological innovation and development in Brazil. They have a strong position in Brazil and see the country as a central area for long-term growth. “Brazil is one of the most important countries in our international portfolio, and the new licenses and partnerships strengthens Brazil’s position as a priority area for Statoil,” said Øisten Johannessen.
Turning to the formal part of the AGM, 33 members were present, among them 8 members of the Board of Directors. The meeting was declared formally opened and constituted, according to the statutes by the Chair of the Board, Mr. Harald Martinsen. As no other candidates stepped forward, Mr. Martinsen proceeded to chair the meeting. Larissa Costa Slottet was appointed to record the minutes.
By Larissa Costa Slottet, BNCC
More than 30 leaders members and friends of BNCC gathered at the Brazilian Embassy in Oslo to the first Executive Dialogue organized by the chamber, with an extraordinary guest, Mr. Erling Lorentzen.
The ambassador of Brazil, H.E. Mr. George Monteiro Prata welcomed the audience and Mr. Lorentzen, who is a crucial actor in the commercial relations between Brazil and Norway. Aage Thoen, board member of BNCC, moderate the dialogue, where top-level managers dealing with Brazil had the opportunity to ask questions and exchange experiences with Mr. Lorentzen.
Erling Sven Lorentzen (born 28 January 1923) is a Norwegian shipowner and industrialist who has lived in Brazil since 1953. He was married to Princess Ragnhild, who died in 2012. In Brazil, Lorentzen pursued entrepreneurial ventures in shipping and energy/liquefied petroleum gas and founded Aracruz Cellulose, responsible for the creation of more than 100 thousand direct and indirect jobs in Brazil.
Ambassador of Brazil, H.E. Mr. George Monteiro Prata and Aage Thoen, board member of BNCC and Mr. Lorentzen talking to the attendees.
Mr. Lorentzen told the presents that this market opportunity was realized by him when Dr. Eliezer Batista, then president of Vale do Rio Doce contacted him to transport ore and timber combined in the same ships. He concluded that it would not be ideal, mainly because of the possibility of contamination of the wood with ore dust. So Lorentzen told him and other professionals involved in the project that it was the right time to make a scale pulp mill in Brazil. Years later he heard from President Geisel himself that many times it was discussed in government if they should support this “crazy Norwegian” in his ideas. But Mr. Lorentzen was firmly convinced that this project would bring significant value to Brazil, both for job creation and export competitiveness, among other aspects.
During the dialogue, he was asked for advice to Norwegian who are doing business in Brazil. Lorentzen was accurate in saying that the number one reason for his success in the country was related to people. “Brazil is a good country to work in, but is important to listen to people, invite them to participate and create confidence in them,” said Mr. Lorentzen. He believes that creates friendships and understands the Brazilians is fundamental to develop a business relationship where both countries win.
When asked about the main success factors for business in Brazil, he mentioned three points: In Brazil, you have human potential, possibilities of investment from BNDS and vast market prospective. About the challenges, he mentioned that corruption is an evil that destroys nations, and is present in Brazil. He affirmed that his behavior in Brazil has always been intact, transparent and human and this helped to face this challenge.
Mr. Lorentzen charmed the attendees with his energy, good humor, his histories, experiences, and advice. He seems never grow old in his ideas and never give up on the progress of the humanity. Today, he is involved in a sustainable project in Ghana, where the intention is to create a forest base of 20 thousand hectares and generate about 4 thousand jobs.
At the end of the meeting, Aage Thoen, handled a diploma of honorary member of BNCC to Mr. Lorentzen on behalf of the chamber, in recognition of his preeminence for having a significant and positive impact on the Brazilian-Norwegian commercial relations.
Mr. Lorentzen being honored honorary member of the BNCC
By Larissa Costa Slottet, BNCC
The Deputy Director General at NHO, Ole Erik Almlid received more than 50 members of BNCC in their premises in Oslo. Almlid welcomed the Norwegian ambassador to Brazil, Nils Martin Gunneng, Chargé d'Affaires Silvana Polich, the chamber of commerce and its members.
Gunneng has been the ambassador in Brazil since last September. He shared his impressions with the audience regarding the Norwegian government strategies and highlighted that Norway has a profound interest in Brazil. In one hand, the bilateral trade between Brazil and Norway is not massive, on the other hand, Norway is a very significant investor in Brazil. The Norwegian government has invested US$ 1 billion to the Amazon Fund, and together with private investments sums almost US$ 28 billion. With such a significant investment, Norway believes and has the interest to witness a more harmonious and prosperous Brazil in the future.
The ambassador indicated that Brazil and Norway are incredibly different in the balance of power and that he recognizes some critical events in Brazil. Gunneng mentioned that the Lava Jato ("Car Wash") corruption investigation task force is still on while the Brazilian people is openly adressing the subject. As pointed in his presentation, this process that Brazil is facing recently might be painful, but these steps are vital to transparency. Corruption is not a Brazilian problem, says the ambassador, it is a global issue and what makes the difference is the way you deal with it. Two weeks ago, Gunneng attended the report launch of Transparency International in São Paulo, along with Brazilian businesses which are changing their operations model and board structures in order to be more transparent. He affirmed that the Norwegian Government has zero tolerance for corruption and thus, a more transparent Brazil is an advantage to Norwegian companies.
In the business perspective, the ambassador spotted Brazil's skepticism to foreign ownership. According to him, a Norwegian company can bring much more than investments to Brazil. Besides the know-how and the technology, Norwegian companies can potentially contribute with their strong values, such as zero tolerance for corruption, gender equality, security and safety and environmental protection. Plus, Brazilian companies owned by Norwegians also generate taxes to the country, concluded the ambassador.
He also briefly talked about the political scenario, that may present risks to the reforms agenda. Nevertheless, executive authorities continue to push for the approval of the reforms, which may be postponed until after elections which are set for October. The ambassador listed possible candidates but made it clear that it is still early to know who will run for the presidency.
The president of BNCC, Harald Martinsen reinforced the Ambassador's observation concluding that “what is good for Brazil is also important and good for Norway”. He highlighted some common points between the two nations, as the dependence of raw materials and commodities price. Moreover, Martinsen pointed out how important is the role of autonomous and competent institutions in Brazil.
Chargé d'Affaires, Silvana Polich followed the ambassador’s presentation. She added the approved constitutional amendment imposing strict rules limiting increases in public expenses for 20 years. According to Polich this is a key step towards the stabilization of public debt in the medium term. She also mentioned how the current momentum of the global economy is positive to Brazilian economic growth.
Plus, the Chargé d’Affaires mentioned the political perspective, signalizing that the relationship between Executive and Congress has improved. Environmental legislation is in place. She also agrees that it is still too early to discuss the Brazilian elections but assumes the possibility of an apparent polarization between right and left wings in the pre-campaign.
In conclusion, a Q&A session took place, and the diplomats addressed some subjects brought by the audience.
From left to right: Counsellor Ricardo de Souza Franco Peixoto and Chargé d'Affaires Slvana Polich from the Brazilian Embassy, Ambassador Nils Gunneng and the Deputy Director General at NHO, Ole Erik Almlid.
By Larissa Costa Slottet, BNCC