Three floater companies are emerging as the leading contenders as a Petrobras-led consortium prepares to receive bids for a big floating production, storage and offloading unit for the Mero-2 pre-salt development in Brazil.

SBM Offshore is gunning for a new Brazilian project after a long period on the sidelines due to compliance issues with state-controlled Petrobras.

With the ban removed, Petrobras' own delays in concluding the tender have given the Dutch player added time to catch up with its engineering and logistical preparations, and a highly-competitive bid is expected.