A night to remember
About 650 guests attended the 5th NBCC networking dinner during Rio Oil & Gas 2014, an event that is now being referred to as the single most important networking venue during the international oil & gas conference.
NBCC had the pleasure of having the Norwegian Deputy Minister of Petroleum and Energy, Mr. Kåre Fostervold, as the guest of honor for the important event, where the minister met with a long list of prominent guests and important stakeholders in the Brazilian oil and gas industry.
"Brazil is high on the political agenda in Norway. We share many of the same challenges, and Norway would like to solve these challenges together with Brazil. I hope my visit to Rio de Janeiro has contributed to building bridges between companies and towards the authorities here", Mr. Fostervold said in his address to the event.
As usual the NBCC networking dinner was held in the elegant surroundings of the Itanhangá Golf Club, on September 17.
2014 has been a slower year for the business in Brazil, but the networking event itself is a sign of improvements.
"In a slow year we are breaking records. Never before has the interest for our networking event been bigger. This demonstrates that Norway still believes in Brazil. The purpose of our work in the NBCC is to promote trade and business between Norway and Brazil, and to host an event like this, where our guests can strengthen their relations and have a glass of champagne or a caipirinha, is priceless", NBCC president Halvard Idland says.
The event of the week
The NBCC networking dinner was even referred to as the event of the week - a fantastic recognition of our efforts and very important to the NBCC, according to Mr. Idland.
The guest list itself is a demonstration of the significance of the event.
"Rio Oil & Gas is the biggest event of the sector in Latin America, an event that generates an income of 280 million USD for our city. My impression is that of all the events and happenings this week, this is the event with the biggest dimensions, where you meet the most interesting people, and it is organized with the professionalism that you have in your DNA, which Norwegian industry in Brazil is also known for", says Marcelo Haddad, president of the business promotion agency Rio Negócios.
Representatives from local and state authorities, regulatory bodies like the ANP, BNDES, Petrobras, CEOs like Carl Arnet of BW Offshore, Njål Sævik of Havila Group and Carlos Moura of Aspen Offshore, all enjoyed the music, the food and the drinks in the company of colleagues and other business associates. The president of the Brazilian maritime tribunal, Marcos Nunes de Miranda, and captain Luis Fernando Flammarion, of the port authorities in Macaé, were other high profiled guests.
The importance of an event like this cannot be overrated, according to Innovation Norway.
"In Brazil there is always a need to get to know people and nurture your business relations. A very elegant event like this, which attracts so many high level guests, is very valuable", says Helle Moen, the director of Innovation Norway in Rio de Janeiro.
CEO Owe Hagesæther of the Norwegian business cluster NCE Subsea was part of a 15 people strong delegation from the Bergen region.
"To us, Brazil is more important than ever. We use this event to meet the local industry, to get new input and we are always working to connect our member companies to potential business partners here. As an example we have invited almost 15 people involved in the establishing of local clusters in Espirito Santo and Rio de Janeiro This is an great venue for networking for us, and my impression is that meeting in pleasant, informal surroundings like this is very important, especially here in Brazil", Mr. Hagesæther says.
Arriving at the Itanhangá Golf Club was almost like coming to Norway in the winter, with ice crystals and snow flakes, pictures of traditional Norwegian fishing boats and snow covered Norwegian mountains. All very posh and pleasant. Entering the main hall brought the guests back to Brazil with palm tree decoration and a cachaça bar.
The guests enjoyed music from the Orquestra Aprendiz Mirim, and danced to the beat of Batuque Digital. Traditional Brazilian treats like caldinho de feijao, bobó de camarão and Norwegian-Brazilian codfish balls were served. But there was also sushi and a variety of other dishes and drinks.
The Deputy Minister enjoyed it all, according to his informal speech to the event.
"I have learned a lot this week, and I am bringing valuable input with me back to Norway. But I have also learned that the sun is very strong, as you can all see in my sunburned face, I have enjoyed samba - and traffic jams", the Deputy Minister joked.
A joint effort
The NBCC networking dinner is organized with the support of several sponsoring members, and Statoil is the main sponsor of the event. Mr. Pål Eithrheim is the new country manager of Statoil in Brazil.
"We use this event to invite our close business relations, partners and suppliers that we work closely with, and this is a great opportunity to meet all our most important stakeholders in one place. In the United States they say that «In America, all good business starts with a dinner» and I think that it is vital to business to get together in an informal setting like this, not only in meeting rooms and for seminars", Pål Eitrheim says.
The Norwegian Consulate General is another vital partner in the organizing of the event.
"The Rio Oil & Gas networking dinner has become a tradition and an important meeting place for the industry, authorities and Norwegian and Brazilian stakeholders. I believe that you don´t always have to keep business and pleasure separate", says Consul General Helle Klem.
"Vital to Petrobras"
The Rio Oil & Gas expo and conference 2014 will also be remembered as a success to many Norwegian stakeholders. 55.000 people visited, and the 23 companies at the Norway pavilion were among a total of 1300 exhibitors from 30 countries. The Dream Learn Work initiative was handpicked by IBP as one of the initiatives that were offered a stand in the social responsibility area at the expo.
It is the 9th time Norway hosts a pavilion during Rio Oil & Gas, and 23 companies were represented at the pavilion.
Several business seminars were also held during the Rio Oil & Gas week. Environmental management, technology and regulations was discussed in a seminar on September 15, organized by NBCC, Innovation Norway and others.
"I am pleased to see that there is a mutual interest in learning from each other, and I am impressed with what Brazil has accomplished. Brazil is a leading laboratory for global innovation, constantly breaking new barriers", Mr. Fostervold said in his address to the 100 people present at this seminar.
Abran, the Brazilian wing of Norwegian Shipowners Association (NSA), and FGV Law School Rio hosted a seminar on the demands and challenges in the supply boat industry on September 16. CEO Njål Sævik of Havila Group is also the chairman of the NSA OSV group.
"Brazil is a big, but challenging market. I believe that the competence and the skills that Norwegian OSV companies have, is vital if Petrobras is to succeed in the ramp up of its activities. We are known as reliable and professional, and Brazil is a market that is too important for our sector to ignore", he says.
The financing of production facilities and projects for the offshore industry, was the topic of the second NBCC seminar during the ROG week. On September 18, the Norwegian cluster NCE Subsea hosted a seminar on subsea, market developments and the export opportunities for Norwegian companies.
Photo courtesy of Alessandro Mendes
By Runa Hestmann, NBCC journalist
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