We can see the first signals of market recovery in the horizon.

Felipe GUTTERRES CEO SISTAC

More innovation offshore Brazil

September 24, 2018

Felipe Gutterres, CEO of Sistac, talks to TOGY about opportunities and challenges in the Brazilian market, the capabilities of local subsea and offshore technology firms, and the company’s capacities and initiatives. Sistac is a maritime and offshore services provider in Brazil, offering inspection, maintenance and repair services such as air diving, saturated diving, rope access and more.

• On market recovery: “The oil and gas downturn made the whole industry more efficient. We followed the same path, investing in cost savings, productivity, new products, innovation and early engagement with our clients. We can see the first signals of market recovery in the horizon, and the results of the last ANP bid rounds are a compelling example.”

• On challenges: “The compression of margins and increasing competition are the most important challenges. Uncertainties coming from political instability, exchange rate fluctuations and discussions about oil and gas fiscal regimes make investment decisions more difficult and slower than they could be.”

• On local capabilities: “Brazil’s oil and gas industry has a strong subsea technology capacity due to its offshore characteristics. However, I am a strong supporter of co-operation and collaboration. We have a spectacular capability in some areas and less in others, so why not partner with whoever has the technology we don’t have, and vice versa? It has to be a combination of efforts.”

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How is activity developing in this sector and how has your business been affected?
Petrobras is dominant in Brazil, but we have been seeing increasing movement from IOCs, too. Our business is more exposed to oil production, which suffered less than exploration activities. The oil and gas downturn made the whole industry more efficient. We followed the same path, investing in cost savings, productivity, new products, innovation and early engagement with our clients. We can see the first signals of market recovery in the horizon, and the results of the last ANP bid rounds are a compelling example.

With all the recent opportunities in the market, do you see any new competition?
There are some shifts in the market. Some shipowners have a logistics-driven fleet and have started to explore some subsea opportunities. As such, we have created some partnerships to jointly operate SDSVs [shallow-water diving support vessels] and DSVs [diving support vessels] through what we call “ecosystems,” which combine shipowners, diving companies and ROV [remotely operated underwater vehicle] operators. By doing that, we share skills, human resources, technology and capital to provide efficient solutions to our clients.

 

What are some of the challenges of operating in this market?
The compression of margins and increasing competition are the most important challenges. Uncertainties coming from political instability, exchange rate fluctuations and discussions about oil and gas fiscal regimes make investment decisions more difficult and slower than they could be.

Are efforts more concentrated on efficiency rather than purely on costs?
After the downturn, the industry became completely cost-driven and efficiency came from cost reduction. We believe the industry is entering a new stage in which technology will increase productivity, sustainability and production efficiency, and reduce the first oil cycle. We have to work in this direction with our clients.

What are Brazil’s capabilities in subsea and offshore technology?
Brazil’s oil and gas industry has a strong subsea technology capacity due to its offshore characteristics. However, I am a strong supporter of co-operation and collaboration. We have a spectacular capability in some areas and less in others, so why not partner with whoever has the technology we don’t have, and vice versa? It has to be a combination of efforts.
The oil and gas collapse made everyone aware that we have to work together to offer the proper alternatives to the market with the correct timing.

How does Sistac support its contracts?
Sistac services long-term and spot contracts. In our view, the beauty of our business model is to depend on a pool of equipment and people to accommodate long-term and short-term demand, giving us flexibility to invest in safety and training, and optimise availability, capacity use and uptime.

Is the company involved in any technological initiatives?
After many internal discussions, we realised that our R&D process should be based on a relationship with startups. We had to develop a start-up mentality and be connected with them to structure our innovation initiatives through collaboration and co-operation. For two days a week, our directors work together, sharing the same room and experimenting with the start-up atmosphere and network.
The following step was hiring Fabrica de Startups, which is a Portuguese entity operating in Europe, Brazil and Asia. The programme we designed with Fabrica includes methodology, ideations, startup roadshows, mentoring and acceleration. The programme has already started and we expect results by mid-2019.

How does Sistac approach training?
Sistac has an extensive training programme, counting on internal and external instructors. We expect to have more than 70,000 hours of training in 2018.
We are also investing massively in the safety and awareness culture, and managerial leadership development. Besides that, some selected operating personnel have international training and exposure, with the objective of elevating the company’s operating standards to the best international practices.

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