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Petrobras ignores local content rule and hires Chinese company

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Amid the discussions of the local content policy for the Brazilian oil sector, Petrobras decided to contract in China the anchoring systems for the onerous assignment platforms of the pre-salt, which involves the set of fields granted by the government in 2010 In exchange for Petrobras shares.

Brazilian competitor Brasil Amarras has started judicial action to try to reverse the result of the tender, held in January and won by the Chinese Jiangsu Asian Star Anchor Chain (Asac). The accusation is that the winner practiced prices below the market.

The contract, worth US $ 50 million, includes the supply of steel chains used for the anchoring of six ships. According to the onerous assignment agreement, this segment must meet a minimum percentage of 65% local content.

Asac was declared the winner by presenting a price of US $ 1.57 per ton of product, including freight. According to Folha newspaper, all of its product will be imported.

The only national company entry, Brasil Amarras, presented the most expensive proposal, at US $ 1.86.

In an appeal to the bidding committee, Amarras argues that in their 2015 balance sheet, China’s Asac reported that the cost of production was US $ 1.45.

In September 2015, Asac offered to tender with Petrobras the price of US $ 1.96 per ton.

Faced with the denial of the appeal, Brasil Amarras filed an injunction in the Federal Court of Rio to cancel the result of the bid.

In the invitation letter, Petrobras mentions that companies will have to inform the maximum local content for the project, not the minimum, as foreseen in the current rule.

In case of noncompliance with the minimum local content, the ANP (National Petroleum Agency) may issue fines. But this only occurs at the end of the contract. The first moorings contracted in the bidding will only be in operation from 2018.

People linked to the industry cite two hypotheses for Petrobras to accept prices that are far below those of the market: it would be counting either with the ANP’s fine or with that local content percentage would be reduced or extinct.

In a statement to the companies that disputed the bid, the bidding committee denied that it was considering the fine in the project cost estimate.

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