Subsea technology companies have been operating in Brazil for many years. FMC Technologies for example has been in Brazil since 1956 and currently has two manufacturing facilities in Rio de Janeiro and one service base in Macaé (Northeast of the city of Rio). Construction of its new Technology Center, announced in July of 2010, is expected to be completed in the first half of 2011.
The new facility will work on the development of innovative and cost effective subsea production systems to address the challenges associated with Petrobras' pre-salt oil and gas fields. It also includes the design of subsea processing technologies that can increase recovery rates at Petrobras' maturing O&G fields. Both companies anticipate a portfolio of subsea solutions will result from this announcement.
While this shows that foreign subsea tech benchmark companies are very active in the country, these agreements also guarantee the development of a new generation of local subsea engineers, which in many cases are picked right out of university and are trained by companies such as FMC, SLB, Aker, GE O&G, Cameron among others.
What we are seeing now is an increase in groups of Brazilian subsea engineers, geologists and researchers in other subsea related areas, joining force to create national subsea equipment, subsea services and seismic services companies. Although this trend is only beginning and most of these companies are only just becoming active, there is a great potential for growth and these infant companies will probably receive government incentives in the future. In another decade it is probable that some of these national subsea equipment and services companies will make their presence felt by the market.
The subsea research hub being developed at the UFRJ technology center in Rio is another location where many promising young researchers are being groomed to lead the industry and also where some local groups are being organized into specialized local companies, sometimes even being born in partnership with foreign subsea companies.