Speech/statement | Date: 17/11/2015 | Ministry of Foreign Affairs
State Secretary Morten Høglund's closing remarks at an oil and gas seminar in Brazil.
Ladies and gentlemen,
It is a privilege for me to have this opportunity to make the closing remarks at the end of a long and interesting day. I was fortunate to attend some of the sessions this morning. Later in the day and together with Crown Prince Haakon and his delegation, I experienced first-hand several examples of Norwegian–Brazilian business cooperation – at the Research and Development Centre Cenpes and at the Vard shipyard.
Few countries are more important for Norwegian business interests than Brazil, particularly for the oil, gas and maritime sectors. By any yardstick, Norwegian companies are making an impressive mark here in Rio, as they are elsewhere in Brazil. This shows that the knowledge and expertise we have gained in Norway fits well with the demands here in Brazil. And we have learned to integrate with the Brazilian business community.
I would like to thank Intsok, the Norwegian Shipowners Association and Innovation Norway for organising this event and for inviting so many experts and industry leaders to share with us their valuable knowledge and expertise. This seminar, with all its timely topics, has proven to be a great arena for sharing insights from all parts of the industry: the major operators, the suppliers of services and equipment, the ship owners and the finance providers. I am sure that you have all gained important knowledge about the various opportunities, challenges and solutions that lie ahead of us.
The end of this seminar also marks the end of two busy, but extremely interesting days. The wide-ranging programme for the visit reflects the breadth of the Norwegian-Brazilian relationship and the progress that we have made in a number of areas. In addition to our business relations, Norway and Brazil are also close partners in the fight against climate change and in promoting rainforest conservation. And we have taken new strides in developing our cooperation in the research and higher education sector. The number of Brazilians studying in Norway has increased significantly over the last few years. I am confident that these students will play an important part in further strengthening our ties. We welcome the Brazilian Government's "Science without Borders" scholarship programme, and hope to welcome many more Brazilian students to Norway in the coming years.
Ladies and gentlemen,
The size and scope of Norway's engagement in Brazil was also one of the main points we highlighted in our talks with Vice President Michel Temer and other government officials yesterday and with Governor of Rio de Janeiro Pezao today.
We also emphasised that we are unwavering in our desire to be a strong and long-term partner for Brazil, also in these less prosperous times. However, an important prerequisite for continued Norwegian interest is that our businesses are given stable and predictable framework conditions for investment. The Brazilian Government, like any other government, is eager to develop the country's local industry and thereby create jobs. This has been the case in Norway as well, and it still is. However, our service and supply industry has to compete for each and every contract. No contracts are awarded to Norwegian companies if they are not competitive. It is important for long-term success to strike the right balance and create a level-playing field between international and national stakeholders.
Norwegian companies will do their utmost to deliver quality products and services, based on cutting-edge expertise. Their operations are known for their environmental awareness, their respect for human rights and their high standards of corporate social responsibility. Partnerships with Norway and Norwegian companies can offer you all of these things.
For many years, businesses in the oil and gas and maritime sectors have placed emphasis on developing cutting-edge technology for exploration and production from increasingly deep waters. The costs of this were not much of a concern. As we have discussed today, the situation has changed fundamentally. The drop in the price of oil has placed the cost issue firmly back on the table as one of the industry's main concerns. As we have also heard today, both Norway and Brazil have an enormous potential to reduce costs and thereby secure the competitiveness and sustainability of their future exploration and production activities. The Brazilian-Norwegian partnership to solve our common challenges relating to the world's need for energy will continue for a long time to come.
In conclusion, let me say once again that the substantial Norwegian interest in Brazil will continue, and will maintain its long-term focus, as long as the conditions are favourable and predictable and enable cost-cutting strategies to be used. Our cooperation in research and development benefits both our countries and is stronger and broader than ever.
Partnerships between our private sectors, public sectors and academia will be key to our success in the oil and gas sector, but also in all other areas of Norwegian-Brazilian cooperation. I can assure you that the Norwegian Government stands fully behind your endeavours and that you can count on our support.
Thank you for your attention and I hope to see many of you at the reception later tonight.