For the first time, Brazil will host the most important event in the international oil and gas industry. The seventeenth edition of the World Petroleum Congress, which is to meet in Rio de Janeiro from September 1-5 next, will discuss the theme "The Petroleum Industry: Excellence and Responsibility in Serving Society." "Advances in technology and in the field of social responsibility are critical in today's business world – in a time when society begins to question the role of corporations and who they must serve in compliance with economic, social and environmental requirements," declares Francisco Gros, Petrobras CEO and president of the World Petroleum Congress' Brazilian National Committee.
More than 3 thousand executives, 250 students and 350 journalists from around 90 countries are expected to take part in this event. Among the speakers who have already confirmed their presence are over 20 sector leaders, including OPEC president Rilwanu Lukman and OPEC secretary general Alí Rodríguez Araque, as well as CEOs David O'Reilly, from Chevron Texaco, and Abdallah S. Jum'ah, from Saudi Aramco. Petrobras CEO, Francisco Gros, and the general director of the Brazilian National Petroleum Agency, Sebastião do Rego Barros are among the Brazilian keynote speakers.
About 20 ministers from the energy area will take part in the congress. The following officials have already been confirmed: Brian Wilson, of the UK; Einar Steensnæs, of Norway; Ram Naik, of India; Álvaro Silva Caderón, of Venezuela; Chakib Khelil, of Algeria; Murray Smith, of Canada; Marcos Pontal, of Cuba; José Vasconcelos and Fátima Jardim, of Angola. The Vice president of Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar will also attend the congress. For Francisco Gros, president of Petrobras and of the Brazilian National Committee of the World Petroleum Congress, "Today, at a time when global society begins to question the roles played by companies and whom corporations should serve, it is fundamental that the business world make progress both in the technological and the social responsibility areas, placing emphasis on social and environmental aspects.
With the participation of several companies from almost 40 countries already confirmed, all the 30 thousand square metres available at the Rio Oil & Gas Expo 2002 have already been sold. Of all pavilions, the British one is the largest, taking 1,200 square metres in area. The Chinese companies are too occupy na area of 850 square metres, While Italy has set aside 360 square metres for its corporations. With 800 exhibitors and na expected attendance of 35 thousand people, the 2002 Expo will set new records in size and in number of exhibitors as well as visitors.
Brazil's drive to become the Congress' host country began in 1996, and it was only three years later that it was declared the winner, having competed with Turkey, France, Iran, Indonesia and Egypt. "The recent opening of the market to new investors, the signal development of the Brazilian oil and gas industry, this industry's high technical skills in the deepwater in conjunction with the growing potential of the domestic market make for the factors that led to Brazil having been chosen," stated João Carlos de Luca, president of the Brazilian Organising Committee for the 17th WPC.