National Oil Capital

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From Little Princess of the Atlantic to National Oil Capital
The city of Macaé, in the North of the state of Rio de Janeiro, is known as “Little Princess of the Atlantic” and, internationally, as the “Brazilian Oil Capital”.

Fondly called as “Little Princess of the Atlantic” due to its 23 kilometers of shore, Macaé’s land area covers 1,216 square kilometers, equivalent of 12.5% of Northern Region of Rio de Janeiro state. The city is divided by six districts – Sede, Cachoeiros de Macaé, Córrego do Ouro, Glicério, Frade and Sana.

Founded by chance and without economic or social importance, the colonization of Macaé has begun in 17th century at the request of Brazil’s general governor to avoid pau-brasil smugglers. The colonization began with the arrival of 200 Tamoio Indians.

Little by little, attracted by the primitive beauty of the landscape dominated by the amazing pico do Frade, huge beaches and lagoons, outsiders began occupying Macaé and extract its wealth, such as: pau-brasil, cattle and, later, oil – the black gold that would replace the white gold, sugarcane, which previously was the most important resource in the region.

Until late 17th century, Macaé was not even a village, so, it was under the authority of Cabo Frio. In 19th Century, although almost 200 years of colonization, Macaé still was undeveloped due to its lack of administrative autonomy, which was granted only in July 29th, 1813 by prince regent D. João VI. At this date, he raised the status of Macaé to a village called Vila de São João de Macahé, even it was not a parish before.

This decision was not according the administrative colonial practices and became a landmark for a new political statute. In 1814, a town hall was established and run the political administration of the village. 33 years later, on April 15th, 1846, the provincial law No 364 promoted Vila São João de Macahé to a city.

At that time, the main sources of income of Macaé were sugarcane, orange, tomato, coffee, manioc, banana, beans, sweet potato, corn, rice and pineapple. Animal husbandry and fishing were also important for the city.

In 1970s, Macaé entered a new economic era with the discovery of oil in Campos Basin. This event brought prosperity to the local economy and caught the attention of Petrobras. The company built an operational base in Macaé making it one of the wealthiest cities in Rio de Janeiro State.

This way, Macaé helps Brazil to become self-sufficient in fuel and one of the most advanced countries in deep water oil extraction, thus the city plays a lead role in oil extraction in Brazil.

The city experienced an industrial boom in oil sector, especially from August 6th, 1997, when the law 9.478 broke the oil monopoly. This decision brought a huge population growth. According to IBGE, in 2012, there were 217,915 inhabitants in Macaé, 10% of foreigners. The gross domestic product (GDP) per capita is over R$ 50,000. Every two years, the city hosts Brazilian Offshore Fair, the third largest oil meeting in the world.

Until 2011, there were 276 offshore companies in Macaé. 80% of Brazilian oil and 47% of natural gas production comes from Campos Basin. For these reasons Macaé was nicknamed, by media and experts, National Oil Capital.

In last 10 years, Macaé had an economical growth of 600%. That shows a constant development of the city. According Fundação Getúlio Vargas (FGV), in 2008, Macaé was considered the nineth best city to work in Brazil. According Atlas do Mercado Brasileiro, it is the most dynamic city in Rio de Janeiro State and the second in the country. The survey criteria are based on social investments on health, education, housing, science and technology and purchasing power.