How Brazil is Helping Ensure Energy Security for the World
By Carlos Padilla, Lead Oil & Gas Investment Officer for ApexBrasil
Over the past few months, global supply chain disruptions and rising tensions throughout Europe have brought the issue of energy security to the forefront of political and social discussions. Many around the world are questioning how long they can afford to fill their cars with gas to get to work as prices surge and supplies run low. Amid these heightened concerns, one country has been steadily making investments in its energy offerings, which has resulted in them emerging as a major player in bringing energy security to the world: Brazil.
Unbeknownst to many, Brazil’s energy infrastructure is robust and growing rapidly. In fact, the country is already the seventh largest oil producer/exporter in the world. With significant potential to grow, it’s estimated that Brazil has 50 billion barrels of high-quality crude oil that can be extracted from pre-salt layers alone, a volume four times greater than the current national reserves, which complements Brazil’s equally expansive portfolio in natural gas and its downstream infrastructure. But what’s perhaps most exciting about Brazil as an energy leader isn’t just its natural resources, it’s the country’s concerted focus on innovation and renewable electricity. In combining the two, Brazil has elevated its profile as an energy force to watch, with leaders around the world eyeing the country as a potential partner both now and in the future.
Recently, ApexBrasil, the Brazilian Trade and Investment Promotion Agency, sponsored 42 Brazilian oil and gas companies at the Offshore Technology Conference (OTC), bringing them to Houston, Texas, to showcase the country’s unique and innovative energy products. Below, are a few notable takeaways from the conference that highlight why Brazil is a leader primed to usher in a new era of energy security around the world:
1. Creating Auction Opportunities for Investors
Recently, Brazil’s National Petroleum Agency (ANP) expanded its Open Acreage program to include onshore and offshore auctions, promoting competition and lowering barriers to entry, especially for foreign investors, in the industry. This program opens the door to new companies and investors, who now have an opportunity to support the continuous exploration of subsalt blocks with greater flexibility and lower costs. As a result of this process, earlier this year, 59 exploration subsalt blocks were acquired by 13 companies, resulting in at least USD $80.4 million in exploratory investments. To-date, the majority of these auctions have focused on Brazil’s ultradeep oil innovation, specifically in their pre-salt layers, which are full of untapped resources, underscoring the country’s tremendous energy potential.
2. Longstanding Focus on Alternative Energy
Brazil is not only globally renowned for its oil, but the country has also focused for years on diversifying its energy mix by becoming a leader in renewable and natural gas. In fact, today, over 40% of Brazil’s energy matrix comes from renewables, and that’s not showing signs of slowing down any time soon. Just consider that Brazil has in place a 30-year energy strategy that leverages hydropower, solar, and wind power to meet the energy demands of today, while conserving natural resources for generations to come. What’s more, Brazil recently passed a natural gas law aimed at creating an open, liquid and competitive natural gas market. As a result of endeavors like these, Brazil has the potential to double natural gas production by next year, positioning the country to support a variety of energy consumption needs.
3. Pioneering Innovation and Technology
From artificial intelligence (AI) monitoring tools to advanced geological analysis and petrophysics, Brazil’s energy industry is harnessing the power of technology and innovation to set them apart on the international stage. As just one example, Brazilian predictive-AI company RIO Analytics is combining advanced manufacturing techniques with informed technology to make data-informed decisions that reduce downtime and increase operational efficiency. In doing so, Brazil aims to build a data infrastructure capable of operationalizing energy at a global scale – integrating efficiency, accuracy, and transparency at every step of the process.
In light of current events – and the far-reaching impact on the energy industry – stakeholders are understandably concerned about the current state of resource availability. However, Brazil has proven to be not only capable, but also uniquely positioned to meet these global challenges head-on. By creating public auction opportunities for investors – with 149 state and federal auctions and concessions on the table this year – focusing on alternative energy resources, and leveraging cutting-edge predictive technologies, the country will only continue to rise in prominence as a global energy powerhouse – one that’s no doubt primed to fuel the world in the years to come.
About the Author:
Carlos Padilla is the Lead Oil & Gas Investment Officer for ApexBrasil and project manager of the Brazilian Petroleum Partnerships (BPP), a bilateral investment program.