RIO DE JANEIRO, April 8 (Reuters) - Sete Brasil, the company responsible for contracting drilling rigs for Brazil’s state-run oil company Petrobras, will only have the capacity to deliver 13 to 17 rigs of a total order book of 28, a representative of a major shareholder said on Wednesday.
The expected reduction is due to the financial difficulties facing Sete Brasil, which is under investigation, along with Petrobras, in Brazil’s biggest corruption scandal ever.
“That original number of 29, or 28 and one standby rig, is not sustainable at this time,” said Licio Raimundo, director of investment at Petrobras’ pension fund Petros, which holds a 10 percent stake in Sete Brasil.
“We will have to reduce the number to between 13 and 17 rigs at most,” he added.
The construction of each rig is a $1 billion investment.
Sete Brasil is finalizing details on a bridge loan with banks in order to continue its investments, but investigations by police into the company’s contracts with suppliers and Petrobras have complicated business.
Sete Brasil announced on Monday that it had signed a memorandum of understanding with its main creditors that will suspend debt collection rights for 90 days until the bridge loan is in place.
Sete Brasil has been commissioning rigs for Petrobras, known formally as Petroleo Brasileiro SA, which has embarked on a massive exploration campaign to bring Brazil’s recently discovered ultra-deepwater oil discoveries into production.
“Sete will survive. It will overcome this trial but it will do so with a smaller scope than initially expected,” Raimundo said, adding that the cutbacks may be for the best, given the sharp drop in oil prices in recent months. (Reporting by Rodrigo Viga Gaier; Writing by Reese Ewing; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)