By Miles Hunter, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The Brasil Offshore oil industry event to be held between June 14th and 17th in Macaé is the biggest of its kind in the Southern hemisphere. The event is expected to draw over 50,000 visitors to the burgeoning oil town situated two hours north of Rio. The last ten years have seen this biannual show out-grow the city’s enormous convention center, and now overflows into a sprawling temporary tent city.
The event’s growth has been directly reflected by the city’s expansion with Macaé, reportedly increasing in size by over 600 percent in the last fifteen years. The city’s radical changes in fortune have come as a result of the success of the country’s largest oil company: Petrobras.
The company’s decision to move its Campos basin headquarters there in the late 1970s transformed Macaé from a small coastal fishing village into Brazil’s biggest oil town. More recently, Petrobras and Macaé have exploded in size and importance after the government’s 1997 decision to break the company’s monopoly on the development of the country’s oil fields.
This has allowed international companies to work alongside Petrobras in recovering the country’s significant oil reserves, and it’s at the Brasil Offshore event that these companies have been meeting and doing business for the last ten years.
The show has been successfully organized since 2001 by IBP (The Brazilian Institute of Petroleum, Natural Gas and Biofuels), SPE (The Society of Petroleum Engineers), and the events company Reed Exhibitions Alcantara Machado.
The event being the third biggest of its kind in the world makes it a truly global affair. Renata Parreira, a spokesperson for the event promotions explains, “In this edition we have 155 foreign companies, twelve percent more than in 2009.”
Parreira goes on to describe what is new in 2011: “This year the event celebrates ten years and the trend has followed the growth of the offshore market. In this issue we will have 700 exhibitors … [and this year will have] a technical program focusing on critical aspects related to development in deep waters.”
Asked about the importance of the event to the city’s businesses and industries, Fabio Paranhos Cansanção of Macseal said, “If you’re operating any business related to the oil industry in Macaé it’s absolutely essential that your company is visible at Brasil Offshore … It’s not really a choice whether you exhibit, it’s an obligation; I suppose this goes someway in explaining why the event keeps getting bigger.”
Cansanção continues: ”It’s a really good opportunity for companies to show their latest technologies to the industry, and find business partners. It’s also nice to be able to do this on neutral ground making communication easier.”
This year’s Brasil Offshore will be employing over 5,000 temporary staff to look after the needs of the visitors attending the event. Accommodating everyone involved with the show is a massive task and the city’s hotels and guest houses are filled well in advance of the show.
Macaé’s seafront restaurants and cafés also benefit greatly from the increase in trade that a 25 percent increase to the population brings with it. The success of Brasil Offshore reflects well on what is happening to the oil industry in the country and highlights to the world that Brazil is continuing to grow in importance as an energy provider.
Find out more about the Brasil Offshore conference at their web site.