The announcement from the ANP, which was made just before Easter, is a major milestone in the development of SINTEF in Brazil, as well as in academic co-operation between Norway and Brazil.
The SINTEF Group is Scandinavia's largest independent R&D organization with leading expertise in the natural sciences and technology, environment, health and social science.
SINTEF has more than 2100 employees who come from 67 countries. SINTEF performs contract research for industry and the public sector organizations all over the world, and carries out more than 7000 projects a year for more than 2000 clients.
SINTEF has been a central contributor of R&D to the international oil and gas industry over the last three decades. With this new accreditation, SINTEF is well positioned to contribute to the development of technology on the Brazilian continental shelf.
Special Participation Funds
“One percent of the gross revenues of Brazilian oil and gas production is to be put into research and technology development. At least 50% will be used by universities and R&D institutions accredited by the ANP. In 2010 this fund came to 740 million Reals (303 million euros). Since 1989, more than 5.2 billion Reals (2128 million euros) have been generated by the SPF regulations.
“Access to these funds is a tremendous opportunity for SINTEF,” says Øyvind Hellan, CEO of SINTEF Brasil, and he continues:
“This accreditation gives us the opportunity to take part in the most exciting petroleum province in the world. We can use all the experience we have gained elsewhere, and continue to learn and develop in Brazil.
First of its kind
Marintek do Brasil was the first part of the SINTEF Group to establish itself in Brazil. However, as a limited company, Marintek did not qualify for accreditation. SINTEF Brasil was established as a non-profit foundation in 2011.
“We are the first research foundation with international affiliation to be accredited in Brazil. We have had to break new ground, but communication with the ANP has been excellent throughout the process. Now we are part of the Norwegian R&D system, part of the European R&D system, as well as a recognised part of the Brazilian R&D system. ANP has given us an opportunity, but also a challenge. Now we need to demonstrate that SINTEF can make an important contribution to the Brazilian R&D system,” says Hellan.
Active development of new projects
In parallel with its efforts to obtain accreditation, SINTEF Brasil has focused on developing projects for operators on the Brazilian continental shelf.
“We are working on several very interesting projects, and we have already experience that accreditation has made us more attractive to operators here. The fundamental idea is to work very closely with Brazilian universities, but we also want to bring the suppliers into the heart of our projects,” says Øyvind Hellan.
“With the ANP accreditation, SINTEF Brasil can be a mechanism for suppliers to meet their R&D requirements in Brazil.
Moving into recruitment phase
SINTEF Brasil has seven employees at present, and this number is about to grow.
“We are now entering a phase of recruiting new employees. We are primarily looking for Brazilians with the right competence, but at first we will also use senior staff from our home base in Norway. This is in order to build research teams capable of manning large projects, to implement the company culture we want, and to make sure our Brazil office delivers the quality that our clients are used to expect from SINTEF,” says Hellan.
The CEO says that SINTEF has the ambition to grow from a small office with a handful of employees, into an institute with strong scientific teams and a considerable amount of researchers within the near future.
“If we play our cards right, we should be able to develop SINTEF in Brazil to the same level as we already know SINTEF in Europe; a large, independent research foundation that collaborates closely with universities, industry and the public sector. In ten year's time we could be talking of several hundred employees working in several industries in addition to oil and gas. Given the growth of the Brazilian economy, and the quality of Brazilian academia, this is a perfectly realistic ambition,” says Øyvind Hellan.