HOUSTON – Plans by Petrobras to build up to 28 new drilling rigs between 2013 and 2018 will be divided into phases with a call for bids as early as September, according to the Brazilian national oil company. The Executive Board of Petrobras has given the go-ahead to hire the rigs as part of the company’s previously announced strategy to develop the ultra deepwater subsalt areas of the Campos and Santos basins, and elsewhere in Brazil.
As previously announced, Petrobras officials said the contract tenders will require increasing levels of local content. The first round of contracts is for a minimum of nine rigs. Of this first lot, seven vessel-type units will be built based on consolidated technologies widely used in the global market, and constructed in a single shipyard.
Contracting these seven rigs from a same shipyard will allow the winning bidder to make the investments that are required in order for it to construct the needed infrastructure and to achieve the necessary economies of scale, Petrobras says. The two other units, which may be either vessel-type rigs or semisubmersible platforms, will be built separately and may use technologies that incorporate concepts new to the market, but which will afford Petrobras greater economic and operating benefits.
In addition to building these nine units, the company will simultaneously conduct a process among all rig operators in which Petrobras would charter up to four units per operator. The rigs to be chartered would be built in Brazil. Under this strategy, the charterers themselves would be responsible for constructing rigs in Brazilian shipyards.
The volume of orders will enable new, modern shipyards in Brazil, Petrobras says. It is expected that the investment in new and existing yards will lead to the implementation of a new Brazilian naval industry that can compete with the best international shipyards in the offshore industry segment. Due to the characteristics of these drilling rigs, building them in Brazil will also promote a major expansion of the related industries in goods and services that supply the shipyards’ productive chain.
To assist in this process, Petrobras is analyzing how it may facilitate access to credit for the Brazilian suppliers who will form the supply chain for the drilling rigs to be chartered. The Federal Government will allocate, via the Guarantee Fund for Naval Construction, R$4 billion ($2.2 billion) exclusively to support the construction of these 28 drilling rigs.