Norway’s oil fund removes Petrobras from watchlist

Norway’s central bank Norges Bank has revoked „the observation” of the Brazilian oil company Petrobras.

Illustration: A Petrobras FPSO unit / Source: Petrobras
Illustration: A Petrobras FPSO unit / Source: Petrobras

The bank manages Norway’s $1 trillion sovereign wealth fund, popularly known as the oil fund, and makes decisions on the observation and exclusion of companies in the Fund’s portfolio. Petrobras was under the bank’s observation since 2016 due to the risk of severe corruption.

The Council on Ethics had in 2015 recommended that Petrobras be placed under observation after revelations that senior executives at the company and its most important suppliers had for a decade operated a system in which the payment of bribes was a prerequisite for winning contracts with Petrobras.

Norges Bank said Tuesday that the Council on Ethics believed that “the risk of corruption is now reduced.”

Related: Norway’s oil fund now worth NOK 10 trillion

The bank bases its assessment on the legal settlement with the US authorities, which confirms that Petrobras has implemented comprehensive improvement measures since the investigation began in 2014.

“On the basis of this information, the Council on Ethics has recommended the bank to revoke the observation,” the Bank said.

“The Council would also like to point out that Brazil’s federal prosecution service and supreme court have officially defined Petrobras as a victim in the Lava Jato investigation, and that the company is, therefore, assisting the prosecuting authorities in many ongoing criminal proceedings,” the Council of Ethics said.

In 2018, the sovereign wealth fund held 0,83 percent in Petrobras, with the percentage valued at the time around $5,7 billion.

To remind, in another story related to bribery in Brazil, South Korean shipbuilder Samsung Heavy Industries last week agreed to pay a $75 million penalty as part of a settlement agreement reached with the U.S. Justice Department over bribery investigation related to a 2007 drillship construction involving Petrobras and drilling contractor Pride. More on that here:

Offshore Energy Today Staff

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