Petrobras, Brazil’s state-owned oil and gas company, announced on Wednesday that it will resume construction projects at the Rio de Janeiro Petrochemical Complex (Comperj). The Brazilian company has invited 30 ventures to take part in a $620 million bidding process.
The sought-out companies include Germany’s ThyssenKrupp, China’s Chalieco, and Spain’s Acciona. The fact that most of the companies are of foreign capital has an easy explanation: Brazil’s largest construction companies can’t do business with Petrobras anymore, as a consequence of Operation Car Wash.
Petrobras CEO Pedro Parente, however, offered another explanation. And didn’t pass an opportunity to poke at his predecessors. He said that the new administration has no “ideological bias” against foreign companies. “Also, they all have a HQ in Brazil. In fact, for us, they are Brazilian companies,” he said.
Comperj itself is also under heavy scrutiny. Construction began in 2008 and was expected to be completed by 2012. Nine years later, the complex is far from ready. Federal prosecutors believe that Rio’s former Governor Sérgio Cabral received $840,000 in bribes to favor suppliers during bidding processes.
Parente used the announcement to point out the company’s record-setting production in 2016. Last year, Petrobras reached an average production of 2.1 million oil barrels per day, a 0.75 percent rise from 2015.