The highly-skilled engineering labour market in Brazil is huge, and we can offer good prices and good conditions.

Nelson ROMANO Managing Director DORIS ENGENHARIA

At the forefront of deepwater engineering

September 3, 2018

Nelson Romano, managing director of Doris Engenharia and president of the Brazilian Association of Industrial Engineering, talks to TOGY about the company’s projects in Brazil, and the opportunities and challenges local business might face in the country. Doris is an international engineering firm that has worked with Petrobras on some of its FPSOs.

• On Brazilian capabilities: “Engineering-wise, we are at the forefront of deepwater know-how. Moreover, the highly-skilled engineering labour market in Brazil is huge, and we can offer good prices and good conditions.”

• On market outlook: “If the country stays on track politically, the future will be bright because we have plenty of oil and gas. We have the cessão onerosa [Petrobras’ transfer-of-rights acreage in the pre-salt polygon], which probably has 5 billion more barrels to be explored, which in turn means 10 FPSOs. One FPSO requires USD 1 billion-1.5 billion in investment, and plenty of segments within the industry benefiting from it.”

• On local content: “Local content regulations are today more flexible and make it easier for operators to come and start their businesses here. For quite a while, this was a big issue in the industry, as it was not well-balanced in past years. However, the requirements today are acceptable for both operators and local services and equipment providers.”

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What is Doris Engenharia’s history in Brazil and what does the company focus on in this market?
We came exactly when the pre-salt era started, when the reservoirs were discovered in 2006. It was an excellent opportunity for us. Ever since then, we have been working to become the most knowledgeable engineering company in pre-salt offshore fields, with a complementary experience dealing with ultra-deep waters. We used to focus on subsea operations mostly.
In 2010, we were awarded a contract to provide the FEED for eight ships that Petrobras is to deploy in the Santos Basin, alongside its original partners BG Group, Repsol-Sinopec Brasil and Galp. This is a very large ongoing project that we have been working on for more than eight years now.
This project does not end with the FEED. We will also provide technical assistance during the construction. All of this will be completed only after 2020-2021.

 

What other projects have kept you busy in Brazil in recent years?
One important project we are developing is the subsea development for Libra, the largest field in Brazil today. It belongs to Petrobras, Shell, Total, CNPC [China National Petroleum Corporation] and CNOOC [China National Offshore Oil Corporation]. The project started in 2017, and we will most probably continue to work on it until 2021.
Moreover, we have around 40 people at P-76, a platform being constructed by Techint. There, we are delivering assistance and support services.

What opportunities do you see in the Brazilian market?
Without a doubt, the opportunities in Brazil are now coming from the bid rounds scheduled throughout 2018. The blocks being offered are excellent. The last pre-salt bidding round, held on June 7, 2018, offered excellent opportunities. With those, together with the increasing price of oil in recent weeks, we can see a more optimistic and stable future for the national hydrocarbons industry.
Furthermore, local content regulations are today more flexible and make it easier for operators to come and start their businesses here. For quite a while, this was a big issue in the industry, as it was not well-balanced in past years. However, the requirements today are acceptable for both operators and local services and equipment providers.

Will Doris Engenharia benefit from current market conditions, with many foreign companies eying Brazil’s offshore opportunities?
Even though we are part of an international company with a reputable brand across the world, as a local affiliate, we sometimes face certain barriers when getting contracts from foreign clients. Companies coming from abroad usually have partnerships with other foreign companies operating in the region, which is what we call the comfort zone. There is some mistrust of Brazilian capabilities.
However, the advantage is that the really big players already know Brazil and are delighted to work with the local experts.

What is the level of competitiveness in the Brazilian engineering sector?
Engineering-wise, we are at the forefront of deepwater know-how. Moreover, the highly-skilled engineering labour market in Brazil is huge, and we can offer good prices and good conditions.

What is the outlook for Brazil over the next five years?
If the country stays on track politically, the future will be bright because we have plenty of oil and gas. We have the cessão onerosa [Petrobras’ transfer-of-rights acreage in the pre-salt polygon], which probably has 5 billion more barrels to be explored, which in turn means 10 FPSOs. One FPSO requires USD 1 billion-1.5 billion in investment, and plenty of segments within the industry benefiting from it.

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