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  • UKexport credit agency ECGD is backing a pioneering structured finance project for Brazilian oil giant Petrobras to supply undersea technology to a major Brazilian offshore oil platform.

    Newcastle-upon-Tyne manufacturer Wellstream is supplying flexible pipe for the P40 oil platform in the Marlim Sul oilfield in a £26.5mn contract, of which £18.4mn is being sourced in the UK and the rest in the US and Brazil. The pipes will connect the platform to wellheads hundreds of metres below on the seabed.

    The deal represents the first time US Ex-Im has agreed to reinsure ECGD for a civil project under the co-operation agreement signed earlier this year. HSBC was the lender for the project.

    The Marlim Sul field lies 108km off the northern shoreof Rio de Janeirostate. Water depth varies from 720m in the north, to 2,600m in the south of the field. About 80% of the field is in water more than 1,200m deep. The oilfield is of major strategic importance to Brazilin terms of reducing its reliance on imports. At the moment, Brazilonly meets 75% of its needs in the sector, but this project will help move the country forward towards its objective of self-supply.

    The financing structure of the deal involves Petrobras subsidiary PB Netherlands, who will be the borrower for the ECGD facility. This innovative structure looks set to be the basis for future finance deals.

    Graham Smith, associate director, project and export finance at HSBC, says: “The structure agreed by ECGD includes an extremely complex security package and represents a substantial step forward in ECGD’s relationship with Petrobras.”