With an eye on the lucrative subsea equipment market, suppliers are investing in technology, local workforce and expanding local facilities. New Brazilian companies specialized in subsea equipment and services also strive to compete with foreign suppliers.
Today Petrobras is one of the greatest if not the greatest subsea equipment buyer in the world. With the ongoing discoveries of new deepwater and ultra-deepwater O&G plays in Brazil´s offshore, there is a sustained demand for essential subsea systems such as BOPs, Christmas trees, subsea manifolds, risers, rigid and flexible flowlines, umbilicals, subsea control and monitoring systems, ROV´s, AUS´s and all manner of subsea support systems.
International companies such as FMC, Aker, Cameron, SLB and VetcoGray, which have been leading subsea suppliers in Brazil for a long time, are still the main Petrobras suppliers in these areas and buoyed by the expected growth of the Brazilian market, these companies are heavily investing in expanding their local operations and increasing their technical and engineering departments with local talent.
While the established international supplier increase their investments, small local companies, usually spin-offs from university research teams, begin trying to compete with the major league in order to grab some of the many subsea supply contracts being handed out by Petrobras and other operators, especially those involved in deepwater E&P. With the increase in partnerships between local universities, subsea equipment suppliers, and O&G operators, quite a respectable amount of technology transfer and new technology development are occurring within the local subsea equipment market.
These new local subsea equipment manufacturers are also investing to increase their product quality and manufacturing capabilities. Petrobras is definitely interested in this increase in local subsea equipment manufacturers and in many cases offers incentives to local companies to develop their products, sometimes they even join the small companies as partners to help them grow, as is the case of a local company developing special diamond tipped drill bits for use in pre-salt drilling.
International companies looking to enter the Brazilian subsea equipment market sometimes prefer to partner small local companies or even to buy the off in order to swiftly gain visibility in the market. There is a great probability that with the growth of the subsea market which is forecast to continue for a number of years, we will be seeing many more local companies entering the market and foreign companies looking for local partners to expand their operations in Brazil.