International seminar on offshore energy transition brings together more than 50 sector experts

The participants agreed on the need to decarbonize shipping and said that change is imminent.
23 May 2024
International seminar on offshore energy transition brings together more than 50 sector experts

FGV Projetos, in partnership with the Brazilian development bank (BNDES), held an international seminar titled “The Energy Transition at Sea: Challenges and Opportunities for Brazil” at the end of April. The two institutions hosted a variety of activities in Rio de Janeiro. The two-day event brought together more than 50 speakers and moderators from the private sector, government bodies and academia. Around a thousand people watched them speak, in person or on the YouTube channels of FGV and BNDES.

The opening speeches were given by the president of BNDES, Aloisio Mercadante, and FGV’s president, Carlos Ivan Simonsen Leal. After that, a discussion was opened up with the commander of the Brazilian Navy, Admiral Marcos Sampaio Olsen; the secretary general of the International Maritime Organization, Arsenio Dominguez; BNDES board member and former environment minister Isabela Teixeira; and BNDES director Luciana Costa.

Read on to learn about some of the topics addressed at the event.

Mobilization of sector

  • In the Brazilian academic community, FGV is playing a leading role in this field, alongside Rio de Janeiro Federal University, the University of Sao Paulo and Campinas State University. The participants emphasized the importance of this collaboration for Brazil and the need for new arrangements involving the public and private sectors to support the energy transition.
  • In the public sector, BNDES and the Brazilian Navy are leading the way in this area, supported by the National Waterway Transportation Agency (ANTAQ), Petrobras, the Mining and Energy Ministry, the Ports and Airports Ministry and the Foreign Ministry.
  • The private sector was represented at the seminar by trade association MarSalgado, shipping players such as Maersk, Wilson Sons, OceanPact and Log-In, energy companies Raizen and Equinor, engine producer Wärtsilä, exporters Vale and Suzano, agribusiness players FS and Unica, classification organizations DNV and ABS, the Port of Açu, and consulting firm BCG, among other companies.

End of denialism

The participants agreed on the need to decarbonize shipping and said that change is imminent. They acknowledged that this will imply costs but it will have to be done. The mindset was not one of denial, but pragmatism in assessing risks and opportunities. Brazil’s commitment to its Paris Agreement nationally determined contributions (NDCs) and to ramping up funding for the energy transition were stressed.

Fleet renewal

The seminar’s participants emphasized the importance of Brazilian naval engineering and said that they will carry out studies to understand how Brazil can rebuild its shipbuilding industry in a serious, responsible way, recognizing and avoiding the mistakes of the past while seeking opportunities in this new context. Aloisio Mercadante announced that BNDES expects to lend R$6.6 billion to the Merchant Marine Fund to help finance the shipbuilding industry in 2024 and the bank will reduce interest rates for projects that demonstrate a reduction in ship emissions of at least 30%.

National plan

During the event, the guidelines for Brazil’s National Plan for the Energy Transition at Sea were unveiled. This plan is a crucial step for the success of Brazil’s strategy. Since 2019, several countries have published national action plans, as suggested by the International Maritime Organization, including the United Kingdom, Singapore, Japan, South Korea, India, Finland and Norway.

Partnership between FGV, BNDES and Brazilian Navy

This partnership, which is not just institutional, involved joint work to set up a coordination team, with the support of six other organizations (Petrobras, the Brazilian Oil and Gas Institute, the Brazilian Naval Engineering Association, the Rio de Janeiro Naval Technology Cluster, the Port of Açu and MarSalgado), to design, publicize and organize this seminar.

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