State-owned oil firm Petrobras has launched a supply chain programme to boost credit available to its suppliers.

The Progredir (progress) programme has already undergone its first stage of testing and 15 companies received a total of R$137mn (US$87mn).

Brazil’s Banco do Brasil, Bradesco, Caixa Ecônomica Federal, Itaú and international banks HSBC and Santander have joined forces with Brazil’s National Oil and Natural Gas Industry Mobilisation programme for the supply chain scheme.

The programme will work by firms in the supply chain leveraging Petrobras’s strong credit rating with the participating banks, though the oil company will not provide any funding.

“The programme seeks to foster a favourable environment for the provision of credit backed by future receivables under contract with supply chain participants,” Petrobras says in a statement.

In Q1, 2011 Brazilian firm Lupatech tapped Bradesco, Itaú and Banco Votorantim for R$160mn, R$120mn of which was signed under the programme.