The highlight of the year in Rio

Board representatives of the 3 Norwegian-Brazilian Chambers of Commerce, Knut Øvrebø-São Paulo, Terje Staalstrøm-Oslo, Jon Harald Kilde-Rio, with Deputy Minister Per Rune Henriksen.

About 800 distinguished guests were present at the NBCC networking dinner during the Rio Oil&Gas Expo in Rio de Janeiro on August 19th.. BNCC president Terje Staalstrøm and representatives from several BNCC member companies were present, accompanied by both current and potential future business partners.


“This is a great opportunity to build business networks between Brazilians and Norwegians. A lot of Norwegian companies and interests are represented here today. To the industry, this networking dinner is a meeting place of great significance. There are still a lot of Norwegian companies considering to establish operations in Brazil and to them this week of meetings and contacts is very important. More than 100 Norwegian companies are now in Brazil and the Norwegian presence is increasing”, says BNCC president Terje Staalstrøm.

Hottest of the year

The networking dinner is frequently referred to as the highlight of the year by the Norwegian-Brazilian business community in Rio de Janeiro, and several representatives from BNCC’s member companies were present. The networking dinner is hosted by the NBCC and the Norwegian Embassy, and took place for the fourth time, at the warmest day of the season. A variety of dishes and drinks were served, from sushi to caipirinha, and as temperatures reached 41 degrees Celsius on the day of the event, a lot of guests were looking to quench their thirst and have a good time in the elegant surroundings at the Itanhangá Gold Club.

“Brazil is on the tip of everyone’s lips in the petroleum industry, and this is an event I’ve been looking forward too. I understand it has become a biannual institution during the Rio Oil&Gas Expo. All the people present here tonight have an instrumental role in ensuring a successful Norwegian-Brazilian collaboration. Politicians create framework, but it is you who’s joint efforts and commitment produce the results”, Norway’s deputy minister of petroleum and energy, Per Rune Henriksen said in his opening address at the Itanhangá Golf Club.


Several high profiled guests were present, among them the CEO of Sete Brasil, João Carlos Ferraz.


“Not coming here tonight was not an option to me at all. Sete Brasil has close relations with several Norwegian companies. Norway is currently the capital of the international oil and gas industry, especially when it comes to advanced technology, vessels and rigs. All big international companies are present in Norway today, and I cannot predict the future, but we are working hard to make Rio de Janeiro the next oil capital of the world”, João Carlos Ferraz told “Nordic Light” during the event.


Biggest offshore market 

Mr. Ferraz’ statement is in line with a recent Intsok report that shows that Brazil is about to pass Norway and become the world’s biggest offshore market. According to the Intsok annual market report 2013-2016, the investments on the Norwegian continental shelf is estimated to USD 186 billion for the period, the offshore expenditure for Brazil is estimated to surpass USD 193 billion, according to the projections.


The numbers definitely consolidate Brazil as the most attractive market, and the global offshore industry had its eyes on Rio de Janeiro and the Rio Oil&Gas Expo and Conference in September. An estimated 50.000 people visited the trade exhibition, currently considered the most important oil and gas event in Latin America, attracting exhibitors from all over the world. The Norwegian deputy minister of petroleum and energy spent five busy days in Rio de Janeiro during this year’s expo, and he met with the BNDES, Petrobras and several Norwegian companies.


“Stable and predictable frame work conditions in combination with huge discoveries the recent years make Brazil an attractive petroleum province for Norwegian industry and research institutions. With the technology driven oil company like Petrobras to unlock the resources, the industry is given great opportunities to solve technology challenges and providing products and solutions for the future here in Brazil. I know the Norwegian industry has a lot to offer Brazil, especially in deep sea drilling and subsea solutions”, Mr. Henriksen said.


 BNCC Board Member Pål Nordgreen discussing potential prospects with BNCC President Terje Staalstrøm

Tailor-made events

The Norwegian pavilion at Riocentro was among the biggest international pavilions at the exhibition this year, and the deputy minister formally opened the Norwegian pavilion on September 17th.  Mr. Henriksen urged the Norwegian companies present in Riocentro to “capitalize on the opportunities to present your great skills” during the trade exhibition,and the opening was followed by a crowded happy hour. In addition several events and tailor-made seminars took place during the expo.

On September 17th , Mr. Henriksen opened a seminar on opportunities and cooperation financing the oil, gas and shipping sectors. Innovation Norway’s main event took place on September 18th. One of the most common causes of inefficient cross-border project collaboration is the lack of good communication. For several years, Pellegrino Riccardi has worked within the multicultural oil and gas sector providing advice on how to avoid the most common pitfalls, and he delivered an entertaining and humorous presentation to the participants at the seminar.


“Norwegians should look at Brazilian business more like they look at football. They respect Brazilian football. Brazil has the same potential when it comes to doing business, and should not be underestimated”, Pellegrino Riccardi said.


Intsok gave its insights on the oil & gas and offshore market in Brazil during a seminar on September 19th, , and both Carlos Camerini, superintendent at ONIP, the national organization for the Brazilian petroleum industry, and CEO of Sete Brasil, Jõao Carlos Ferraz, emphasized the plentiful opportunities for Norwegian suppliers in spite of the Brazilian local content regime. Sete Brasil, an investment company created in 2010 to manage assets portfolios, mainly of rigs, have 31 rigs contracted, and 6 of them are being built by the Norwegian companies Odfjell Drilling and Seadrill


“On the drilling packages 50-80 percent will be foreign content, and on the marine packages, 40-60 percent will be foreign. Norway will be among the main sources”, Mr. Ferraz says.


Carlos Camerini reminded that there are only 34 offshore oil fields in production or development in Brazil, and 314 more exploratory areas. “The future in this industry is big”, Mr. Camerini says.


A meeting place

The attendance at the NBCC networking dinner is another fact proving the high temperature in the industry. The Norwegian Embassy and the General Consulate in Rio de Janeiro were co-hosting the dinner event, and according to General Consul Helle Klem, it is important for Norway to mark a presence during a busy week like the Rio Oil&Gas week. “The Norwegian presence in Rio de Janeiro is significant. The Rio Oil&Gas expo gives us a great opportunity to mark this presence in a proper way”, she says.


“The great participation here tonight reflects the high Brazilian activity level, with a substantial Norwegian participation. The idea is to give our members and partners a venue for networking, and this is a place where suppliers can meet potential buyers, where people hook up” NBCC president Jon Harald Kilde explains.


The importance of networking was frequently mentioned by the many guests at the event.


“We’re here to meet people, and keep warm the relations with our business partners in Brazil. The NBCC has managed to gather a considerable group of interesting representatives from both the Brazilian industry and the Norwegian industry present in Brazil”, says Carl Arnet, CEO of BW Offshore.


According to Terje Staalstrøm building close and personal relations is important to succeeding in Brazil. Helle Moen, director at Innovation Norway in Rio de Janeiro agrees.


“It’s not only important, it is crucial. In Brazil you need to use time to gain trust and build a personal relationship with you professional partners. My impression is that the Norwegian industry is realizing this, but it is something that cannot be said too often. The NBCC networking dinner is a great opportunity to meet and spend time with your business partners”, Helle Moen says.



Second biggest oil producer

Statoil is one of the main sponsors of the networking dinner. Statoil is currently the second biggest oil producer in Brazil, and country president Kjetil Hove had invited business partners from Petrobras and the other oil companies in Brazil to the event.


“An event like this is a great opportunity to gather the industry in a pleasant environment, for us to exchange experiences, talk about our challenges and build business networks. Statoil has made experiences in Brazil that we are happy to share, and to Statoil it is important to have a Norwegian community in Rio de Janeiro. It is important that the Norwegian industry succeeds in Brazil, because these are companies we know well. We know they deliver high quality services and products, and Statoil would like to share our experiences and knowledge in order to contribute to their success, country president Kjetil Hove says.


By Runa Hestmann Tierno, NBCC journalist