Trade Group Asks Regulator to Probe Petrobras Xmas Trees

Brazilian oil industry trade group Onip has asked national hydrocarbons regulator ANP to investigate the US$10mn acquisition of 10 Christmas trees by a group led by federal energy company Petrobras (NYSE: PBR) for the Manati gas field, local press reported.

ANP lawyers will analyze the evidence to prepare a report that will then need to be approved by ANP's board of directors, an ANP spokesperson told BNamericas.

Onip said that the group's decision to buy 10 Christmas trees from US company Drillquip before consulting Brazilian-based equipment makers was against the terms of the exploration concession contract that Petrobras, Brazilian engineering firm Queiroz Galvão and Petroserv had with ANP, local press reported.

The concession contracts for oil and gas exploration in Brazil generally determine that oil companies give equal opportunities to all suppliers. "Apparently this was not done, and it goes against the concession contract with ANP," ONIP superintendent Roberto Magalhães told BNamericas.

"The companies can buy whatever they want from whomever they want, our job is to guarantee that Brazilian-based companies are given equal opportunities. Apart from this, we do not question the legality of the contract."

The Brazilian-based units of FMC, Aker, Cooper Cameron and ABB also supply Christmas trees but were not consulted, local press reported.

Onip decided to question the Petrobras-led group after industrial equipment manufacturers' group Abdib questioned the purchase.

The Manati gas field is located in the Camamu-Almada basin in northeastern state of Bahia. Petrobras, Queiroz Galvão and Petroserv have had an operation contract to develop the BCAM-40 block in the basin since 2000.

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