Petrobras To Decide Next Week on Platform Contractor

Petrobras will announce next week its choice of company to construct an oil exploration and production platform, a contract worth approximately $300 million. Jurong of Singapore and Brazilian company Fels Setal are vying for the contract to build the platform, called P-50, to be installed offshore in the Campos Basin. The platform would have capacity to produce 180,000 barrels per day.

Petrobras' Services Director Irani Varella said political pressures were mounting to chose the Brazilian firm. Although he guaranteed Petrobras' decision would be based on technical merit. "Companies should not be influenced by political concerns, but by corporate ones," Varella said in a statement. The platform will be installed in the Albacora Leste field in Brazil's biggest oil-producing area. Varella could not say when the platform would start operating.

Separately, Rio de Janeiro's legislative assembly on Thursday approved a bill that would force locally installed oil firms to pay a tax of 18 percent on platforms that are built outside Brazil and brought into Rio state. Currently, the tax is only charged on platforms constructed within the country. Rio state Gov. Benedita da Silva has 15 days to sanction or veto the law. Oil officials and analysts said the law, if implemented, could have a negative impact on the state's oil industry, which is responsible for 80 percent of national production.