By Sibel Tinar, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO – The eyes of the global oil industry will be on Rio de Janeiro as it once again hosts the biennial expo Rio Oil & Gas, the biggest event of its kind in Latin America, which is set to be held between September 13-16, 2010 at the city’s principal convention center, Riocentro in Barra da Tijuca.
Organized every two years since 1982, Rio Oil & Gas Expo and Conference is an international platform for the oil industry to promote new goods and services, exchange ideas, and discuss technological innovations. Meanwhile, the world eagerly awaits this gathering of an industry that has been under scrutiny ever since the disaster caused by the explosion of a drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico this year.
A main theme of the discussions and debates will be sustainability, and for the first time in the event’s history, a Social and Environmental Responsibility panel will gather to discuss the current issues, with a focus on the Globally Responsible Leadership Initiative, whose methodology adopted by 65 partner organizations including Petrobras aims at cultural change in the decision-making processes of companies.
Another hot topic in the oil industry is Brazil’s pre-salt oil, lying under a thick layer of salt over five kilometers (three miles) below the surface of the ocean, and many companies that have developed new technologies to facilitate its exploration and extraction will be present at the expo with simulations demonstrating their innovations in great detail.
Another highlight of Rio Oil & Gas 2010 will be the technological advances related to the production of shale gas, which has increasingly been a major source of natural gas in the world, especially in the United States. Through multiple panels at the event, the natural gas industry will also focus on the new legislation on production of natural gas in Brazil, the prospects of gas extraction from the pre-salt layer, as well as the development of the liquefied natural gas business.
Owing to the multitude of recent innovations and issues concerning the industry, there was record demand for participation at this year’s event, and consequently the Instituto Brasileiro de Petróleo (IBP, Brazilian Institute of Petroleum) will be providing additional tents for companies, in addition to Riocentro’s five pavilions.
Attendance for this year is expected to break the previous record set in 2008 of 40,000 visitors, and 5,000 participants from 1,200 companies from 23 countries.
Known as Brazil’s “oil capital”, Rio is home to the headquarters of the biggest companies in Brazil’s energy sector, the most prominent being Petrobras, recently ranked as the world’s fourth largest energy firm, as well as numerous institutions and research centers on oil and bio-combustibles.
Endowed with vast riches in its natural resources, most importantly the Campos Basin that possesses the country’s largest reserves of petroleum, the state of Rio de Janeiro produces around eighty percent of Brazil’s oil and about half of its natural gas.