SBM studies offshore wind power generation in Brazil

SBM Offshore expects to get new contracts in the country as of this year, after closing in 2018 a leniency agreement to close investigations into the company’s involvement in a corruption scheme in the country. At the same time, with an eye on the transformations of the energy sector, the traditional Dutch supplier of oil and gas platforms is also preparing to debut in the area of ​​wind energy and looks at opportunities in this sector in Brazil.

The Brazilian market accounts for 42% of the company’s global revenues. In 2018, platform rental in the country earned $ 723 million in revenue for the Dutch. SBM’s president in Brazil, Eduardo Chamusca, says, however, that the company has a team dedicated to prospecting new business in the country, also in the wind and gas markets.

According to the executive, SBM’s strategy is to leverage its expertise in floating platforms to develop technology solutions for offshore wind projects. The Dutch company was hired by EDF to develop a floating wind turbine system on the French coast, the first SBM wind project in the world.

“It will be a gradual transition and it will not necessarily change our business overnight. It is a first step towards diversification, but it may in the future, in ten, fifteen years, become the company’s main business. Balance is how the oil and gas industry will behave, “he says.

According to him, SBM monitors the first signs of development of offshore wind energy in Brazil. Last year, for example, Petrobras and Norwegian Equinor signed a memorandum of understanding for joint studies on a potential project on the Brazilian coast.

In natural gas, SBM sees potential for liquefaction vessels (FLNG). Chamusca points out that technology is becoming cheaper, on a world scale, and may become, in the future, a solution for Brazilian pre-salt gas.

In the short term, however, the main interest is in the new Petrobras bids. After signing in 2018 a leniency agreement of R $ 1.2 billion with the state government, the Ministry of Transparency and Comptroller General of the Union (CGU) and the Federal Attorney General’s Office (AGU), SBM is authorized to bid new contracts with the oil company.

Since 2014 the company was prevented from contracting with Petrobras, due to the involvement of the Dutch in a corruption scheme in Brazil. According to the Federal Public Prosecutor’s Office (MPF), US $ 42 million was paid in bribes between 1997 and 2012, through commercial agents, such as Julio Faerman, to obtain privileged information in state bids. According to Chamusca, the multinational has undergone a “genuine change”, removed all the people linked to the corruption scheme and focus on continuous training on compliance with its employees.

The executive says that SBM’s focus is on supplying more complex platforms, focused mainly on the pre-salt. And the outlook is good. According to him, the Brazilian market must contract, in the next five years, between four or five units per year.

Today, SBM has seven platforms in Brazil, one with Shell and six with Petrobras. Since it delivered the vessels Cidade de Maricá and Cidade de Saquarema to the state-owned company in 2016, SBM has no new projects for Brazil.

Recently, SBM closed the Brasa Shipyard, a joint venture with the Synergy group, in Niterói (RJ), due to the uncertainties about the demand, after the flexibilization of the local content. In the 2018 balance sheet, SBM recognized a carrying loss of US $ 19 million from impairment.

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