Using its Norwegian branch to launch a drillship operator is one of the options that Petrobras is evaluating in order to administer the 28 drillships the company plans to order.
This option would entail creating a holding company as a subsidiary to Petrobras Netherlands B.V. (PNBV) to administer the operation of the 28 drillers to be ordered in the coming years in order to fulfill the drilling needs of the company´s aggressive exploratory campaign in looking for major reservoirs along the Santos Basin pre-salt. The main reason for using a PNBV subsidiary would be to speed up the company´s creation so as not to affect the planned exploratory schedule and also to decrease the company´s direct investment.
The holding to be created would be composed of investors which would front the necessary capital. Under these investors would be other subsidiaries which would own the drillers and would admit operators.
This would be a totally new procedure for Petrobras and shows a very efficient minded company that doesn´t want to deviate many investments from its core business. An already existing PNBV subsidiary would congregate companies interested in acquiring the drillers and operating them on behalf of Petrobras, greatly reducing the capital that would need to be disbursed by Petrobras. The investors could be made up of pension funds, companies specializing in drillers and even other O&G operators. Petrobras plans to own a maximum of 5 or 10% share of the new holding.
The new company would have the 28 planned drillers as its assets, which would amount to an order book of something over $30 billion.
The tendering process for the construction of the 28 drillers has started and the final results are expected shortly. It is probable that Petrobras will divide the orders in four groups of seven drillers each, all to be built in Brazil. It is still unknown if the groups will be ordered to different builders or to a single builder but that will be known when the tender results come out.