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The Brazilian economy has this year produced a modest recovery from two years of deep recession in 2015 and 2016.
Political risk remains high but there is a general consensus among analysts that Brazil is finally on the right economic track again.
After having endured the "hard times," Norway-based seismic surveys and imaging services provider Spectrum believes it is now in a better position to take advantage of the business opportunities that Brazil can offer.
In this second part of a two-part interview, Brazil country manager João Corrêa tells BNamericas about Spectrum's seismic survey campaign that has just started in the Ceará basin and also about the company's future plans.
BNamericas: Spectrum has recently started a new seismic survey project on a Brazilian basin. How will it be structured?
Corrêa: We started this project just a few weeks ago on the Ceará basin. The seismic survey will cover an area of 6,000 square kilometers and it is expected to last four weeks, depending on the weather conditions. Since the 15th oil and gas bidding round has been anticipated, we are now waiting for a new authorization that would allow us to expand our operations to the Paraíba and Pernambuco basins. It would be interesting to collect data on these areas before the next bidding round in Brazil. However, the license that Spectrum already has also includes areas that will be placed during the next auction.
BNamericas: What about the company's operations on the Santos and Campos basins that started at the beginning of this year?
Corrêa: Although we still have time to complete some of the seismic surveys, we have decided to pause our operations on those areas and request for a suspension of our deadline. It was clear for the company that we already had a solid volume of data and the vessel that was working there was also scheduled for another project somewhere else. The data that we had back then seemed to be sufficient for our study, but now we are processing and analyzing it. Only when it comes to this phase, it is possible to have a clear view on which parts that would probably need further details. It is true that Santos and Campos are well-known basins in Brazil, but the area in which we are operating is more external, in ultra-deep waters. Therefore, this can still be considered a virgin area, unknown. At first we thought that with this seismic survey we would reach the end of the basin, where we would see the outer limit of the basin. However, there is still more to be explored. We did not reach its end.
BNamericas: So is the company planning on continuing this project?
Corrêa: Given the information that we have so far, the possibility to come back is still on the table. We are now refining the data that was already collected in order to come up with new decisions. It is possible, but we cannot say for sure. Our plan for now is to keep our authorization to operate active so we can decide about coming back to Santos and Campos basins areas further on.
BNamericas: Spectrum has been operating in Brazil's oil and gas industry for many years now. What are the company's plans for the long term?
Corrêa: Despite the crisis that Brazil has recently undergone, Spectrum remained present. Without a doubt, Spectrum is a company that is always looking to the future. The company believes in Brazil's oil and gas potential and, therefore, allocates much of its investment to these operations. Since 2011, the company has been betting and succeeding in these operations. I believe this also shows to the market that Brazil is an interesting place for new investments, despite all the difficulties involved. We believe there has been a paradigm shift. Now, the country has a new shape in its regulatory agency [ANP], which has shown a greater interest in attracting and facilitating the entry of long-term investments. Investments that generate real wealth for the country. We hope that, once we went through these hard times, bonanza comes as a result. As a competitive company, Spectrum is in a better position for the future because it has not left Brazil during the hard times.