Petrobras 'to skip SBM bids during probe'

Petrobras chief: Maria das Gracas Foster says company will not take bids from floater specialist SBM

Petrobras will not take bids from Dutch floater specialist SBM Offshore until an investigation into bribery allegations is complete, its chief executive said Tuesday according to reports.

Maria das Gracas Foster was quoted by news agency Reuters as making the remarks at a Brazilian congressional committee hearing. Lawmakers are investigating allegations that SBM paid up to $139 million in bribes to the state-led company.

The statement is a blow to SBM as well as local partner Queiroz Galvao Oil & Gas (QGOG), which has partnered with the company on local projects.

Upstream previously reported the duo - despite the inquiries - had hoped to contend for a 150,000 barrels-per-day floating production, storage and offloading unit to be used at the Campos basin Tartaruga Verde development.

A major FPSO player in Brazil, SBM was also said to be eyeing a tender for a smaller unit at the Queiroz Galvao E&P-operated heavy-oil Atlanta development.

Hopes had been on the rise that SBM could get back in the tender game as an internal probe by Petrobras carried earlier this year found no wrongdoing, but Gracas Foster's latest comments suggest otherwise.

The SBM allegations, originally posted by a former employee on Wikipedia, cited up to $250 million of kickbacks in Angola, Equatorial Guinea, Brazil and Malaysia going as far back as 2005.

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