IBP at the Forefront of History
The Brazilian Petroleum, Gas and Biofuels Institute (IBP, in Portuguese) was founded in 1957 – three years after Petrobras was created by decree – with the mission of disseminating technical knowledge on Brazil’s nascent oil industry. The state-owned company then had a monopoly on oil exploration, Brazil produced 27,000 barrels per day and IBP had 20 members. Today, 58 years later, around 90 companies (about half of them foreign) are active in oil and gas exploration in Brazil. Daily output has reached nearly 3 million barrels, and our members now number over 240 companies. IBP, which over time has diversified its scope of activity, has become recognized as the leading representative for the oil and gas sector – “Home to Our Industry”.
Throughout 63 years, oil industry regulation has gradually evolved, and IBP has remained continuously active in discussions and debate on industry issues. The exploration model abandoned the risk contracts with private companies from the Geisel administration – a reaction to the 70s crisis that raised oil prices to prohibitive levels – to reestablish the state monopoly in the 1988 Constitution, which would only be broken in 1997. IBP was instrumental in opening the exploration and production sector to private players through its recommendations on the draft Petroleum Act (1997). The new framework changed the role of the state from a provider to a regulator, created Brazil’s National Agency of Petroleum, Natural Gas and Biofuels (ANP) and drove further development in the industry.
Alongside the regulatory developments, the industry itself has also evolved with the continuing support and participation of IBP throughout these more than 50 years. A network of refineries and petrochemical plants was developed, and oil discoveries were made in the Campos Basin, leading to the development of novel deepwater production technology. The ground-breaking Proálcool program was created, supporting the use of ethanol (a sugarcane-based alternative fuel) on a large scale. And in the second half of the 2000s came the discovery of the vast pre-salt reservoirs. IBP has worked and continues to work, to improve the regulatory environment for this promising exploratory province in order to maintain a continuous cycle of investment.
Throughout the history of Brazil’s oil industry, many of these milestones have been linked to IBP. An example of this was our support for the integration of existing private refineries with Petrobras in the 70s. A further example was our development and promotion of a tripartite model for Brazil’s petrochemical industry in the 70s, which combined Petrobras capital with private technology and investments – each with a third-part interest in projects. In recent years, in response to legislation enacted in the 90s, IBP has taken an increasingly active role as an interface between companies, regulators, and governments. Inputs into our activities are drawn from 66 technical committees with over 1,500 volunteer experts providing cutting-edge industry expertise. They are responsible for identifying industry requirements in order to promote debate and recommend subjects for professional training programs, research, technical publications, and events.
IBP’s name has also evolved with the development of the industry. The word Gas was added in 2000, and Biofuels in 2006. Our first oil and gas trade show, in 1982, would later become Rio Oil & Gas and is currently one of the industry’s foremost events globally. The most recent edition, in September 2014, attracted more than 47,000 visitors and brought together more than 1,000 exhibiting companies.
Our organizational structure has recently been reorganized to provide greater flexibility in serving our members. Five areas have been created: Downstream, Petrochemical, and Biofuels; Knowledge Management; Corporate; Educational Projects and Institutional Relations. The Knowledge Management area has been created as an umbrella organization for research and development, industry standards development and equipment inspection certification services.
Our organization has also incorporated an economic analysis function and the Helio Beltrao Information and Documentation Center – a library named after one of the founders of IBP –, which is open to the public and is also available online.
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