RIO DE JANEIRO, Sept 18 (Reuters) - SBM Offshore NV, the world’s largest leaser of oil production ships, must provide more information and clarity on a range of issues before Brazil’s state-run oil company Petrobras allows it to bid for new contracts, a top official said on Thursday.
Jose Antonio Figueiredo, Petrobras’ contracting chief, did not say what information SBM must provide or what issues needed clarification when he made the comments about SBM at an oil-industry event in Rio de Janeiro. Petroleo Brasileiro SA, as Petrobras is formally known, is the world’s largest operator of deepwater offshore oil-production vessels.
SBM has been under investigation in Brazil, the Netherlands and the United States after allegations from a former employee emerged in February suggesting SBM paid $250 million in bribes, with $139 million of that paid in Brazil.
“This (question of bidding rights) depends on SBM and not Petrobras,” Figueiredo said. “They have a subject that they have to resolve, that must be clarified. When it is cleared up they can take part.”
SBM Chief Executive Bruno Chabas said Sept. 11 that he expects SBM to be able to bid for Brazilian projects again after the country’s presidential election in October.
Chabas added at the time that SBM’s relationship with Petrobras was good and that both companies had completed investigations and found no wrongdoing.
Petrobras warned in July its profits could be cut by $15 billion between 2014 and 2018 if it had to suspend oil platform contracts with SBM.
SBM officials in Brazil were not immediately available for comment. (Reporting by Marta Nogueira; Writing by Jeb Blount; Editing by Bernard Orr)