Company formed to own Brazilian drillships

A newly formed company, Sete Brasil S.A. (Sete BR), São Paulo, Brazil, will own and manage seven offshore drillships that will be built at Brazil’s Estaleiro Atlântico Sul (EAS) shipyard, according to an announcement by oil giant Petrobras.

Petrobras will own less than a 10% share in Sete Brasil. The remainder of the company will be owned by banks and pension funds.

During the event, Petrobras' CEO Jose Sergio Gabrielli de Azevedo emphasized the "great challenges and opportunities this new company will face, capable of transforming the oil and gas industry in Brazil. This is a company with enormous potential, not only because of demand from Petrobras, but also from the entire industry."

EAS will build the drillships—the first ever built in Brazil—under a contract awarded to the shipyard this past February. The value of the contract to build the seven drillships is $4.6 billion, about $662 million per ship. The drillships will be deployed in 2015 for Petrobras' long-term drilling program for pre-salt wells.

Partners in EAS include the Brazilian groups Camargo Corrêa, Queiroz Galvão, and PJMR, along with Korea’s Samsung Heavy Industries.

Besides Azevedo, others on hand at the announcement included Petrobras CFO Almir Barbassa, Sete CEO João Carlos Ferraz, and representatives from the Santander, Bradesco, BTG Pactual, and Caixa Econômica Federal banks, as well as Previ, Petros, Funcef, Valia, and Lakeshore Financial Partners Participações.

Capital for Sete BR will be provided by the partners, and long-term funding from the Brazilian National Development Bank (BNDES), which will finance the Brazilian part of the goods and services required to build each drillship. Funding will also be provided by export credit agencies in countries producing the imports required, as well as the commercial banks.