SAO PAULO, Aug 24 (Reuters) - State-controlled Petróleo Brasileiro SA is growing uneasy with some aspects of the business reorganization of ailing oil-drilling-rig builder Sete Brasil Participações SA, a situation that may pose risks on the refinancing of $3.8 billion in debt, two sources said on Monday.
Officials at Petrobras, as the oil company is known, are questioning technical aspects of Sete Brazil’s reorganization, including how to proceed if legal limits on the rigs’ minimum local content are breached and the fines that a breach could generate, said the first source, who requested anonymity because of legal impediments to discussing the issue publicly.
According to both sources, Petrobras’ stance on some of those aspects marks a shift from views expressed in May when Sete Brasil presented the reorganization plan. The sources also said that neither the number of rigs that Sete Brasil agreed to build under the new business plans or the cost of daily lease charge, or “day rate” to Petrobras are keeping the parties at odds.
Petrobras owns 9 percent of Sete Brasil and plans to lease all of its drillships.
Without Petrobras’ full support, the refinancing of Sete Brasil debt with state lenders Banco do Brasil SA and Caixa Econômica Federal, as well as private-sector lenders Itaú Unibanco Holding SA, Banco Bradesco SA and Banco Santander Brasil SA, could face serious hurdles.
Early in July, the banks agreed to refinance Sete Brasil’s debt payments for another 90 days so long as the rig maker would present a plan to restructure operations. According to the first source, banks want to stretch out the loans because they believe an orderly reorganization could bring about more benefits than a liquidation of Sete Brasil.
“None of the parties are interested in entering a scenario of liquidation,” the source noted.
When founded in 2011, Sete Brasil pledged to spend more than $25 billion to build as many as 28 deepwater drillships that would be leased to Petrobras. A corruption scandal involving Petrobras and some of its key contractors such as engineering firms and equipment suppliers, have paralyzed rig and equipment purchases.
Rio de Janeiro-based Sete Brasil, founded by Petrobras and banks including Grupo BTG Pactual SA, faces a chronic cash-flow shortage as Petrobras delays payments and as borrowing costs spiked.
Under the rescue package, Sete Brasil will use the funds to build 14 rigs, with the ownership of another five being shared with Japanese and Singaporean creditors.
Sete Brasil, Itaú and BTG Pactual declined to comment. Petrobras, Banco do Brasil, Caixa, and the other companies did not have an immediate comment. (Reporting by Guillermo Parra-Bernal; Editing by Bernard Orr)