The idea to connect Ocyan (formerly Odebrecht Oil and Gas) with startups was the main driver behind the oil company's Ocyan Waves Challenge project, as the company looks to advance its innovation efforts and nurture oil and gas technology development.
Ocyan, an offshoot of Brazil's largest construction company, is considered to be the only Brazilian private company that operates in the entire upstream oil and gas industry. OE Digital interviewed Rodrigo Lemos, leader of Ocyan Waves Platform.
“The Challenge is one of the Ocyan Waves Platform programs and emerged from the executives' internal perception of the company's need to invest in open innovation, in view of the transformation that is happening in the industry, where the partnership between startups and large companies is an important tool for generating innovations, from the simplest, such as improvements to an internal process, to the most disruptive,” Lemos said.
“The oil industry increasingly needs to use technology to reduce costs and increase efficiency in a scenario where customer demand for new solutions has grown in recent years when oil prices have fallen. In this context came the idea of creating the platform and launching the Challenge as its first program.”
Ocyan opened up the application process for startups across the country to present innovative solutions to internal company challenges, seeking products or services to address issues raised by the company's operational and support areas.
“We believe there is nothing more important to a startup than having a large customer as an early adopter of its technology, acquiring its products and services to generate cash flow and helping it to constantly improve its solutions through feedback, building together and diversified access,” Lemos explained.
“On Ocyan's side, the company will have the opportunity to gain access to new technologies and contact with highly innovative and agile businesses to improve its processes and operations,” he said.
A large number of startups quickly signed up for the Challenge. “There were 123 startup registrations. The number of subscribers exceeded our expectations. As the oil and gas market has been less related to the startup world, we had not imagined so much demand. We had subscribers from all regions of the country, including states that historically have no direct involvement with the offshore industry,” Lemos said.
Registration started in March 2019, and in June eight companies were chosen to create pilot projects: Rio Analytics (Rio de Janeiro) for Drill Pipes; True Work (Curitiba), for safety challenges; Smarti (Curitiba), for order management; Confirm8 (São Paulo), for equipment inspection; Delphi (Fortaleza), for BOP challenges; Easy Checklist (São Leoplodo-RS), for onboard documentation of vessels; SocialBase (Florianópolis) for communication challenges and Sapiensia (Macaé-RJ) for human resources.
The program will end in November with the presentation of the projects.
At this point, the competition is ongoing for the finalists, and there are interesting rewards up for grabs. “[The finalists] may become suppliers to the company, but we will only know later in the year. We want the eight finalists eventually to be hired and scale their solutions to larger scopes within Ocyan,” Lemos said.
With Brazil's O&G sector heating up again, it can be expected that more startups will become interested in developing solutions for the energy market, and initiatives such as the Ocyan Waves Challenge promise to attract more startups to the industry.
“It is very important to follow this project, because besides our core business we are aware of the new trends in the market. We also have a roadmap that contemplates other programs spawned by the Ocyan Waves platform in the coming years,” Lemos said.