May 11, 2020
The domino effect triggered by the coronavirus pandemic is affecting the players in the oil and gas sector, piece by piece. This time, who suffered the fall – and severe, by the way – was the multidisciplinary platform maintenance segment. Petrobras decided to demobilize the maintenance activities of these units and suspend related contracts, already reflecting the drop in the price of a barrel of oil and the Covid-19 pandemic. With the measure, sources consulted by Petronotitias reported that at least 4,500 employees were demobilized from their jobs.
Our report found that Petrobras asked each of the companies that provide maintenance services to keep only a small group of 10 to 15 professionals on board to meet the emergency needs of the platforms. Under this determination by Petrobras, the maintenance companies demobilized, over the last two weeks of April, a large contingent of professionals who were working on the platforms.
The termination of these contracts affected a number of service providers, some of which are listed below:
1 – Structural – 300 workers
2 – CSE / Aker – 350 workers
3 – Cobra – 500 workers
4 – MotaEngil – 700 workers
5 – Vince / Actemium – 900 workers
6 – Imetame – 700 workers
In addition to these, Petrobras also suspended contracts with support vessels involved in maintenance activities, the so-called Maintenance and Safety Units (UMS). In times of cutting costs to survive the hostile times, Petrobras would be paying only fuel for the minimum maintenance of these UMS, in addition to maintaining a preservation team.
According to data made available by Petrobras, each UMS has a workforce per class that can vary, on average, between 500 and 600 professionals. Also according to information made available by the state-owned company, each type of unit can generate between 1,000 and 1,500 direct jobs, considering that professionals work on a boarding scale basis. The vessels house professionals from different areas – such as mechanics, electrical, maintenance of parts and equipment, hotels, cargo handling, boiler making and industrial painting.
Market sources heard by Petronotícia expressed concern about the decision adopted by Petrobrás. Despite agreeing with the need to face the pandemic, especially in the offshore environment, the professionals consulted by our report stressed that the suspension of contracts is not the best conduct. The claim is that such a measure should be adjusted according to security protocols.
People in the maintenance segment classified Petrobras’ decision as “radical” and affirm that the position adopted by the oil company contradicts the guidelines of not affecting productive activities with radical measures, without a reconciliation plan with the criteria required by the Health authorities. In addition to fears about the integrity of the platforms’ operations, there is also fear about the economy of the country and of producing municipalities, such as Macaé (RJ), in northern Rio de Janeiro.
In the last week, as we reported, Petrobras said that its cash consumption could reach US $ 1 billion in months of greater volatility within a “stress scenario”. As is well known, the company had to take resilience to be able to go through this turbulent period caused by the coronavirus. One of these actions was the disbursement of US $ 8 billion in committed credit lines to reinforce the state’s cash, announced at the end of March.
Petronotícia asked Petrobras for a position on Friday night (8) on the decision to suspend maintenance contracts. However, until the closing of this article, the company had not yet responded to our contacts.