SBM Offshore: No reason for FPSO bidding ban in Brazil

SBM Offshore, a Dutch company providing FPSO units to oil and gas industry, has issued a statement with regards to reports accusing the company of bribery in Brazil.


The company has allegedly bribed Petrobras’ officials to get FPSO contracts.

The company recently settled bribery cases with the Dutch Public Prosecutor’s Office, shelling out $240 million for improper payments to sales agents and foreign government officials in Equatorial Guinea, Angola and Brazil in the period from 2007 through 2011.

No notification on investigation

In its latest statement the company said: “As far as SBM Offshore is aware Brazil is the only country in which investigations are currently ongoing that include the Company. The Company has read in the press about formal investigative proceedings instituted against it but has not received any notification thereof. It is in discussion with authorities in Brazil in order to find an expeditious conclusion of any issue involving the Company.”

Furthermore, SBM Offshore reiterated that as reported in its April 2, 2014 press release titled “SBM Offshore Findings of Internal Investigation” there were certain red flags in Brazil, however SBM Offshore’s investigation did not find credible evidence that the company or its agent made improper payments to Brazilian government officials.

In the period from 2007 through 2011, SBM Offshore paid $139.1 million in commissions to its sales agents in connection with Brazil.

According to a report by the Dutch Public Prosecutor, payments were made from the Brazilian sales agent’s offshore entities to Brazilian government officials. The Dutch Public Prosecutor said that these findings resulted from means of investigation inaccessible to SBM Offshore.

Petrobras, Brazil’s state-run oil company, in a separate statement issued today, said that to date Petrobras does not officially know who could have received the alleged bribery nor the value of it.

No bidding for FPSOs

As part of investigation in Brazil, Petrobras has banned SBM Offshore from taking part in bidding for new FPSO projects until the matter is resolved.

However, SBM Offshore has this to say: “Given what the company has done since 2012 to improve its compliance SBM Offshore feels strongly there should be no impediment for it to resume its bidding activities in Brazil as soon as possible. The Company will do what is necessary to preserve its reputation.”

SBM Offshore further said that it would refrain from publicly commenting “on each and every report, even when factual interpretations are given with which the Company disagrees.”

Criminal charge

Elsewhere in Brazil, Petrobras’ CEO Maria das Gracas Foster has been accused of lying under oath.

Brazilian politician Onyx Lorenzoni filed yesterday a criminal complaint against the Petrobras CEO, asserting that she lied before a Brazilian congressional committee in her testimony on June 11 when she said she was unaware of the bribery of Petrobras’ employees.

In his report, Lorenzoni points to the fact that Petrobras has since 1996 awarded $27.67 billion dollars in contracts to SBM Offshore for the charters of ten FPSOs. Of the 23 Petrobras’ FPSOs, eight are leased from SBM Offshore, the statement by Lorenzoni reads.

Offshore Energy Today Staff