RIO DE JANEIRO, Jan 28 (Reuters) - Three consortia including
Asian shipyards are preparing to compete to build Brazilian
state-controlled oil firm Petrobras' first two
in-house platforms in more than seven years, according to four
people familiar with the tender.
Samsung Heavy Industries Co, Daewoo Heavy
Industries & Machinery Ltd, and Hyundai Heavy Industries Holding
Co Ltd have formed separate consortia that are
expected to bid after seven months of preparations, the sources
said, declining to be named as the information is private.
Offers are due on Monday, Feb. 1. Samsung and Petrobras
declined to comment. Daewoo and Hyundai did not immediately
respond to requests for comment.
The competition marks Petrobras' comeback as a key customer
for Asian shipyards. Similarly sized units have previously cost
around $1.7 billion each to build, one of the sources said.
Petrobras, as Petroleo Brasileiro SA is known, requires
units each able to produce 180,000 barrels of oil per day and
7.2 cubic meters of gas for its massive Buzios field, the second
most productive in the country.
The platforms are effectively massive ships with deep-water
drilling equipment that are vital for offshore oil exploration.
They are known as FPSOs, or floating production, storage and
The debate on where Petrobras should build its platforms has
been a key issue in presidential campaigns over the past two
decades in Brazil.
Construction of the hull is labor-intensive, leading past
administrations to create domestic-content rules. Those were
eased after a corruption scandal, although the exact percentage
of local content will only be known once a winner is selected.
Brazil's biggest-ever corruption investigation - known as
Car Wash - exposed multi billion-dollar bribe payments from
Petrobras suppliers aimed at securing contracts, including for
platform construction in Brazil and in Asia.
Buried in debt, Petrobras spent more than seven years only
leasing its platforms, using long-term contracts that can be
amortized over 20 years. Dutch-based SBM Offshore NV
and Japan's Modec Inc split the biggest contracts.
Modec and SBM pre-qualified to participate in the latest
tender but have dropped out of the competition, preferring the
leasing model in which they can use their own engineering
instead of Petrobras'.
Ten companies pre-qualified for the tender launched by
Petrobras in July 2020.
Hyundai has associated with Keppel and its
Brazil-based BrasFELS shipyard for the bid, the sources said.
Daewoo has partnered with Saipem, while Samsung is
prepared to bid with Toyo and its Brazil-based
shipyard EBR, they added.
Keppel and Saipem declined to comment. Toyo did not
immediately respond to a request for comment.
(Reporting by Sabrina Valle and Marta Nogueira; Editing by
Marguerita Choy and Jan Harvey)