With a crowded auditorium on the opening of the event, the government promises improvement in the business environment, new investment opportunities and more security in environmental licensing


Government and industry officials attributed the success of OTC Brasil 2019, which began today at the SulAmérica Convention Center in Rio de Janeiro to reopen the oil and gas sector to private investment. In a crowded auditorium, a week away from the surplus auction of the assignment and the 16th Pre-Salt Round, Rio de Janeiro Governor Wilson Witzel and Mines and Energy Minister, Bento Albuquerque, were not limited, however, celebrating the achievements made so far. They signaled the opening of new frontiers for oil and gas exploration and production and the approval of measures to further improve the business environment in the country.

“We will not measure efforts by our deputies and senators to approve the necessary reforms, such as the tax, which is already underway,” said the governor, also ensuring that he will work “personally” to ensure the full validity of Repetro, the customs regime of the sector that was renewed at the federal level until 2040, but is still discussed in the state Legislative Assembly. “Rio de Janeiro needs an attractive business environment, so Repetro is my commitment,” he said.

The minister confirmed the opening of new frontiers for exploration in international waters whose geological conformation, according to him, mirrors the pre-salt. In addition to the closing of bids for areas of the year, scheduled for next week, Albuquerque also highlighted the reform agenda in Congress, such as the recently approved Social Security reform. “Brazil is a reliable and safe place for investment. The oil and gas industry proves that we are on the right side,” he said.

With the expectation of receiving more than 15,000 people in the three days of the event, the president of the Brazilian Petroleum, Gas and Biofuels Institute (IBP), José Firmo, began his speech emphasizing the improvement of the country’s attractiveness to the global industry. “Over the past three years, improving Brazil’s regulatory framework has been successful and helped to open a virtuous cycle of competition and investment in the oil and gas industry,” he said.

OTC Brasil is organized by the IBP and the Offshore Technology Conference (OTC). For OTC Board Chairperson, Cindy Yeilding, interest in the event reflects concern about the development of the sector. “Attending the event demonstrates concern for the industry’s professionalization,” said the executive, highlighting the role of more than a hundred volunteers in analyzing the technical papers to be presented during the three days of the conference.

OTC Brasil chairman Marcos Assayag, responsible for the technical programming of this fifth edition, stressed the importance of technological development in reducing the costs of offshore oil exploration and production, especially in deep water. According to him, the motto of the event “Strengthening deep water for the future” summarizes this concern. “The organizing committee has worked for over a year to deliver the best technical programming,” he said.


Safety in environmental licensing is the next item on regulatory agenda, says ANP

Décio Oddone
Décio Oddone-ANP

Prior to the opening, in the first of the three breakfast series with market agents at OTC Brasil 2019, the director general of the National Agency of Oil, Gas and Biofuels (ANP), Décio Oddone, stated that the next item on the regulatory agenda of the sector is environmental licensing. According to him, measures adopted in recent years have resolved the “regulatory attractiveness” not only in exploration and production, but also in the gas and refining segment, but it is important to resolve the uncertainties that still exist in the licensing stage and that have limited the development of important basins on the Brazilian coast.

“The next agenda is to solve the environmental issue. It’s hard to think it’s okay to get a signing bonus, approve an investment plan and then not get a license to explore the area ”, he said.

For Décio, addressing regulatory issues such as having Petrobras as the sole pre-salt operator, lack of rules for field unitization, and the timing of rounds helped unlock the “geological attractiveness” that Brazil has always had. “I am glad to see that the joint effort of many people was able to resolve this is that investors and not the government are now the protagonists,” he added.


Industry supports government in oil containment actions in the Northeast

José Firmo
José Firmo-IBP

The president of the IBP, José Firmo, highlighted the support that the industry has been giving to the government to contain the damage caused by the oil spill of unknown origin in the northeast of the country.

According to Firmo, the IBP and companies in the sector are working with the government to contain the damage. Among the efforts mentioned are sending oil analyzes to France and Norway, distributing safety kits for volunteers and making available data from the Environmental Mapping for Emergency Response at Sea (Marem) database, created in 2016, in an industry agreement with Ibama, which has information on all the beaches of the Brazilian coast and environmentally relevant locations.

Oil and leakage characteristics, however, have so far limited the effectiveness of the measures. “After more than a month, there are still uncertainties, such as about the oil trajectory and, even more complex, how to manage safety in operations outside the borders of legality, as it seems to have been the origin of this accident,” he said.


OTC Brasil is sponsored by Petrobras, Equinor, ExxonMobil, Shell, BP, Chevron, Petrogal, Total, Repsol Sinopec, TechnipFMC, Vallourec, PetroRio, Aker Solutions, Frank’s International, Maha Energy Brazil, Shawcor, Solvay, Halliburton, Enauta and MOL.