Brazil’s national oil company Petrobras has terminated its drillship contract with Vantage Drilling.
The drilling contractor said Tuesday it had received a termination notice from Petrobras, alleging that Vantage Drilling had breached its obligations under the drilling contract signed in February 2009 for the Titanium Explorer drillship.
Vantage Drilling said that Petrobras did not provide “any explanation as to the facts and conduct that constitute a breach of contract.”
Vantage said it strongly disagreed with the allegations of contractual breaches made Petrobras.
“Vantage has filed for arbitration to challenge the assertions made in the notice and to assert that the notice is a wrongful attempt to terminate the drilling contract. Vantage believes that it is in compliance with all of its obligations under the drilling contract,” the driller said.
The Titanium Explorer, a self-propelled, dynamically positioned drillship suited for drilling in remote locations, started its $1.6 billion, eight-year contract with Petrobras in December 2012.
A possible reason for the termination lies in the fact that Petrobras has been engulfed in a bribery scandal that recently led to the resignation of CEO Maria das Gracas Silva Foster.
In July this year, it was reported that Jorge Zelada, a Petrobras director, had been arrested for receiving bribes related to drilling rig contracts. According to reports, Zelada might have taken bribes on the Titanium Explorer drilling contract.
Furthermore, Zelada has also been accused of taking bribes for another rig, operated by Pride International, a company bought by Ensco in 2011. Both, Vantage Drilling and Ensco, have denied the allegations.
Offshore Energy Today has reached out to Vantage Drilling, inquiring about the progress of the alleged bribery investigation. Vantage Drilling declined to comment.
Offshore Energy Today Staff