Petrobras to seek builders for six new platforms as of next year: report

The Petrobras logo is seen in front of the company's headquarters in Sao Paulo April 23, 2015. REUTERS/Paulo Whitaker

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Petroleo Brasileiro SA, Brazil’s state-run oil company, as of 2017 will begin seeking offers for the construction of six new offshore oil platforms envisioned in current investment plans, according to a newspaper interview published Sunday.

In an interview with O Globo, the biggest daily in the company’s home base of Rio de Janeiro, Petrobras’ director of exploration and production said the six new platforms, together likely to cost as much as $6 billion, are among eight rigs planned to enter service by 2021, with bidding for the other two contracts already under way.

The new platforms, Solange Guedes said, will come on the heels of another 11 platforms already under construction and expected to enter service through 2019.

Petrobras is seeking to ramp up production as part of a five-year, $74.1 billion capital spending plan announced last week. It slashed investments from a prior plan by 25 percent, seeking to refocus on core operations after years in which the company was battered by a corruption scandal and government interference that, along with low oil prices, led to big losses.

Guedes echoed recent comments by Chief Executive Pedro Parente, who took over earlier this year, that the company may use more foreign builders if domestic companies are too expensive or too slow. In recent years, Brazil’s government obliged Petrobras to rely increasingly on Brazilian suppliers.

“It must be competitive local content that is viable for our projects in terms of prices and timelines,” she told O Globo. “If not, our projects don’t start producing.”

A Petrobras spokeswoman on Sunday confirmed the Guedes interview with O Globo, but had no further details.

Reporting by Paulo Prada; Editing by Andrea Ricci