Rio Oil and Gas Conference Hitting the Pavement

The Rio Oil and Gas Conference (Rio de Janeiro) is smashing records in attendance, exhibitors, and interest as the Brazilian oil and gas industry rises to global prominence.

This week's Rio Oil and Gas Conference in Rio de Janeiro brings new focus to the heart of the expanding South American energy sector. Brazil tried to wean itself off crude oil after 1973 Oil Embargo by OPEC on the U.S. and the West. Brazil has been very progressive in its attempt to move to bio-fuels, but during the 1970's and 1980's, the country fell deeply in debt purchasing foreign oil.

This September, Petrobras announced a record high domestic oil production of 1,885,196 barrels per day. And, by the end of the decade the Barracuda and Caratungua fields in the Campos Basin, which are estimated to hold 1.2 billion barrels and just 50 miles from Rio, should add another 30 percent to its domestic output by 2025.

The recent calculation of Tupi offshore field by Petrobras, which estimates 8 billion barrels of light crude is recoverable, has put the world on notice that Brazil is now a top player in the proven reserves hierarchy. While Tupi will increase the country's proven reserves by an estimated 40 to 50 percent, Bear Sterns has also estimated the field to be worth $60 billion. Over the next five years in the Western Hemisphere, Brazil could move ahead of Mexico and Canada in total reserves, and be a mere second to Venezuela and the United States.

While Brazil is reveling in its recent fortunes, the oil industry is at the Rio Oil and Gas Conference to sell its services and products and, most importantly, make new friends. Conference sessions this week have included Recovery Factor of 70 Percent—Myth or Reality; Integrating Oil Refining and Petrochemicals, Exploration and Exploitation of Sub-Salt Reserves: Technological and Economic Challenges; and the one on the top of everyone's agenda, the Development of the National Industry of Goods and Services: The New Brazilian Industrial Policy on Local Content.

The big boys are in town, too. Keynote speakers include Chad Deaton, CEO of Baker Hughes; Robert Long, CEO of Transocean; Martin Houston, Director of the Americas and Global LNG, BG and Graeme S. Sweeney; Executive Vice President, Shell.

At the show, which started on September 15th and winds up today, there are five pavilions with 1,200 exhibitors, with major companies like Baker Hughes, Halliburton, Petrobras, Cummings, Electronic Power Design (EPD Inc.), Technip, Thrustmaster, Chevron, Dockwise, International Paint, National Oilwell Varco, Maersk Oil. It is also expected that as many as 35,000 visitors will walk the 35 thousand square-meters of pavilions. The event promises to continue to grow in stature, and it is advisable for those in the oil supply and services industries to begin advanced sign up immediately for the 2010 event (September 13-16). Click for more information.

Tony Munoz is the Publisher and Editor and Chief of THE MARITIME EXECUTIVE. He is in Rio de Janeiro this week. He can be reached at

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