May 11, 2020
The consortium Kerui Método sent a letter to its suppliers of the works of the Natural Gas Processing Unit (NGPU) at Comperj, saying that the Coronavirus Pandemic was hindering their cash flow and compromising payments. This letter was sent at the request of Petrobras itself, by the manager responsible, who was already complaining about the delays followed and the poor performance of the consortium. The performance was already so bad that within the state company it is no longer believed that the Sino-Brazilian consortium can complete the work. In the letter sent, the company talks about renegotiating and rescheduling payments, apologizes, and says it will do its best to minimize the impacts on its suppliers and employees. It is a letter that documents a “I must not deny payment when I can.” But, at the end of the day, it will be difficult for the consortium formed by the two companies to return to complete the works.
How the problem will be solved is not yet known. It may be that the best bid ranked companies are chosen. This was the result of the tender for the construction of the NGPU:
Prices (billions) proposed by the participants:
1st – Shandong Kerui – R $ 1,947.00;
2nd – Fluor – R $ 2,284.73;
3rd – Cobra / Qualiman – R $ 2,284.79;
4th – Tecnimont – R $ 4,246.17
Metasa, for example, one of the largest and most traditional companies in the country, supplier of metal structures, is one of the companies that will suffer to receive. The consortium’s account is high with the company. But Metasa is on a list of many. The social problem that this interruption of payment will cause in the supply chain is very serious. A great impact. For some months, Petrobras has been complaining about the performance of the work. But, to be honest, many of these problems are due to the very process that Petrobras imposes since the bidding, the choice of the winner and then the requests for discounts. Everything that was planned, ends up going down the drain.
As a reminder, the state-owned company only announced the signing of the contract with the consortium that won the bid, on March 28, 2018, five months after announcing the name of the winner. The company also reported that the value of this contract was approximately R $ 1.95 billion for the construction of the unit, below what the company expected to pay. Six months after negotiation and more delay in the work, the contract values were the same as the result of the bidding. The unit is part of the Rota 3 project, aimed at transporting the production of natural gas from pre-salt fields in the Santos Basin. The works that started in the first half of 2018, were expected to close in the second half of this year, which obviously will not happen. At the time, it was said that the Chinese company had no experience to do the job. But, Petrobras insisted and chose the lowest price. Result, again, will pay more for the delay.
Also to remember, the gas processing unit will be the largest in the country, with a processing capacity of up to 21 million m³ per day. The project will expand the company’s pre-salt gas flow and processing infrastructure, which will increase from 23 million to 44 million m³ per day. In addition to generating energy, the gas can be used in vehicles and industries. It will also contribute to reducing the need to import natural gas, as well as making it possible to increase the production of pre-salt oil, since it will increase the processing of gas associated with oil produced in the region.
Petronotícia tried to contact the consortium, but their phones are disconnected and the message via e-mail has not been answered.