Norway and Brazil sign MOU on R&D, by Runa Hestmann, BNCC journalist

Norway and Brazil sign MOU on R&D

“With this agreement in place, we stand stronger together in shaping our future. The MOU provides an excellent framework for kick starting concrete projects between industry and research communities”, Deputy Minister Kåre Fostervold says.

From the left: Kjetl Solbraekke, CEO of Sintef do Brasil, Vice-Minister Dr. Luis Antônio Elias and Deputy Minister Kaare Fostervold.The Memorandum of Understanding, called “BN 21”, was signed by the Norwegian Deputy Minister of Petroleum and Energy, Mr. Kåre Fostervold, and the Brazilian Vice-Minister of Research, Technology and Innovation, Mr. Luis Antônio Elias, on November 25, 2013, during a seminar om R&D, innovation and industrialization in Rio de Janeiro.

“Norway and Brazil have big resources and a similar need for human resources. With this agreement in place, we stand stronger together in shaping our future. The MOU provides an excellent framework for kick starting concrete projects between industry and research communities. The MOU has been signed and a task force will be established. Now it is up to you to fill it with concrete actions”, Mr. Fostervold, said, addressing both Brazilian and Norwegian representatives from universities and research institutions in the two countries, present at the seminar.

Mr. Fostervold calls the Memorandum a milestone, and describes Brazil as a hub for research, development and deployment of new technology in the oil and gas sector. By the end of 2014, Brazil is becoming the world largest offshore market. The Norwegian continental shelf is the second biggest market. Combined Brazil and Norway represent a market potential exceeding 400 billion USD.

“I don´t think it will be difficult to get the industry involved. Both countries have a demanding offshore environment that can only be tackled with continuous innovation. Norway has a genuin interest in partnering with Brazil. The world´s largest discoveries in recent years have been done here, and Brazil´s track record when it comes to breaking new ground in deep water, is remarkable. Norway would like to take part in the Brazilian experience. This is why so many companies and research institutions are present here. Achieveing technological excellence cannot be done in isolation. On the Norwegian contintental shelf, cooperation and interaction has created a climate for innovation”, Mr. Fostervold said.

Target areas
The Brazilian government sees the Memorandum of Understanding as a chance to increase the exchange of students and researchers, and wants to establish “Technology Target Areas” for joint collaboration in areas like subsea technology, marine geology, enhanced geology interpretatation, the use of nanotechnology, enhanced oil recovery and drilling.

“With this MOU, we will walk in the same direction and create a positive environment for the offshore sector”, Mr. Elias said during the ceremony.

He also outlined the Brazilian policy on science, technology and innovation (STI).

“Innovation is a permanent agenda for the Brazilian government and for the Brazilian business sector. We support both basic and applied research and innovation in strategic areas thru a variety of instruments”, he said. Increasing innovation and competitiveness, is another ambition, and the oil and gas sector is seen as a critical sector.

The Norwegian ambassador in Brazil, Mrs. Aud Marit Wiig, was also present during the signing.

“Our countries are blessed with great energy resources, and we need to share both the blessings and the responsibilities. On behalf of Norway, I´m proud of the partnership with Brazil. Brazil is a focal point for Norwegian research institutions . The pre-salt discoveries in deep water will require technological development that also safeguards the environment. By signing the BN21, we lay an important basis for furthering research and cooperation, and an ambitious partnership between two countries with a lot to learn and a lot to gain, and we are confirming our partnership by signing this MOU”, Mrs. Wiig said.

Broad alliance
The R&D seminar was organized by the SINOS alliance, a group of Norwegian universities and research institutions, in cooperation with CNI, and it took place at the Sheraton hotel in Rio de Janeiro from November 25-27, 2013.

Kjetil Solbrække, CEO of Sintef do Brasil and one of the main driving forces behind the seminar, welcomes the Memorandum of Understanding warmly.

“We should be ambitious, because the potential is big. But we have to mean it. We have to solve problems together and allocate funds”, he said, challenging the two politicians present.

Kåre Fostervold made no promises on funding, but guarantees that he is taking a personal interest in taking the cooperation to the higher level.

“Brazil is a high priority country, and to use research and development as a gateway, is a an approach that I find very interesting.”

After the signing, Mr. Fostervold sat down with Mr. Elias to discuss how to proceed.

“From the Norwegian side we have a list of names we would like to include in the task force, and I find it necessary to have biannual meetings to see where we stand and to keep focus on the work”, he said.

Met with the NBCC
On November 26, the Norwegian Deuputy Minister met with the board of the NBCC (See photo). He also met with representatives from Aker Solutions, Statoil, Petrobras, ANP, ABRAN and the Brazilian research council CNPq during his stay in Rio de Janeiro.

The SINOS alliance consists of The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), The University of Oslo (UIO), Institute for Energy Technology (IFE), Sintef Norway and Instituto Sintef do Brasil. The R&D seminar was held in cooperation with CNI.

If you would like to read the complete speech of Mr. Kåre Fostervold, click here.


By Runa Hestmann Tierno, NBCC journalist