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Brazil Seizes $655M Odebrecht, OAS Assets in Petrobras Damage Compensation

Odebrecht office

The federal auditing court of Brazil, TCU, has ordered the seizure of assets worth the equivalent of US$655 million from Latin America’s largest engineering group Odebrecht and from the OAS engineering firm, as compensation for damages in the Petrobras corruption scandal.

Odebrecht and OAS are two of the thirty-one engineering and construction firms accused of having colluded on rig contracts for state-held Petrobras.

The asset seizure — which also extends to Odebrecht’s former chief executive Marcelo Bahia Odebrecht and OAS’s José Adelmário Pinheiro Filho — is aimed at recovering some of the sums that Petrobras had overpaid for services at the refinery Abreu e Lima.

In March this year, Odebrecht was sentenced to 19 years in jail for corruption and money laundering.

According to Reuters, prosecutors have so far recovered around US$1.8 billion of bribe money from offshore accounts in as many as 36 countries.

Petrobras is trying to recover from the scandal, which had also sped up the fall of suspended President Dilma Rousseff, who faces an impeachment hearing on August 29.

Last month, Petrobras agreed to sell a 66-percent stake in an offshore field in the pre-salt layer to Norway’s Statoil for US$2.5 billion. The field, Carcara, is located in the Campos Basin and is one of the biggest recent oil and gas discoveries globally. According to Statoil estimates, the Carcara field holds around 700-1,300 million barrels of oil equivalent. What’s more, the BM-S-8 license block, of which the Carcara is part, may very well be home to even more hydrocarbon reserves.

According to a recent GlobalData report on the offshore oil and gas capital expenditure, Petrobras will be leader among offshore oil and gas companies in terms of both planned production and capital investments, with US$90.9 billion expected to be spent between 2016 and 2025.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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