Petrobras president Maria das Graças Silva Foster and the director of exploration and production José Formigli have announced the start of the seventh round of the fleet renewal plan for offshore support vessels (Prorefam).
Stock was also taken at this time of the plan from 2000 to present, and contracts were signed for the fifth round of the programme.
The president highlighted the importance of Prorefam for the industry as well as for Petrobras, emphasising that the company's priority is to increase oil production, as per its 2014-18 business and management plan.
"This is a very important time. It's the time to cheer the naval and offshore industry on so it continues to grow, thrive, and most importantly be respected", stated Graça Foster.
On the topic of contracts, she stressed that prices must be within international norms.
"Petrobras can't wait. There is absolutely nothing that would justify us falling behind on our oil production curve. No contract that would put this at risk is a priority for us," she stated.
Calls for bids for the seventh and final round will be issued by Friday 21 March 2014 and proposals must be submitted to Petrobras by 27 June 27. Contract signing is scheduled for 30 October.
Speaking about Petrobras' expectations for the seventh round, Formigli reinforced the importance of the Brazilian industry setting competitive prices.
"The expectation is to sign these contracts on a competitive basis, and this is very important," he stated. "We are always comparing Brazilian prices with foreign ones, and we are definitely not willing to sign contracts if there is a significant difference."
Formigli presented the programme's scope, which includes a total of up to 146 vessels over seven rounds between 2008 and 2014. The minimum local construction content varies between 50% and 60% depending on the type of vessel, and is 70% for the offshore operations phase.
"At this point, we have managed to sign contracts for 87 of 146 vessels", stated Formigli, adding that, of these 87 vessels, 61 are under construction and 26 are operating. He also emphasised the importance of meeting deadlines.
"We are working hard with the companies to recover from any lags and to find permanent solutions," he stated, and further stressed that problems of this type have been relatively small and have been overcome.