Equinor and Petrobras sign Brazilian offshore MoU

BRAZIL: State-owned oil majors Equinor and Petrobras have signed a three-year memorandum of understanding (MoU) to develop the country's offshore wind sector.

Equinor co-owns the Sheringham Shoal wind farm (above) off the coast of the UK (pic credit: Alan O'Neill)
Equinor co-owns the Sheringham Shoal wind farm (above) off the coast of the UK (pic credit: Alan O'Neill)

The two companies have already been investigating other potential areas of cooperation, including the development of renewable energy projects, they stated.

Petrobras has four wind farms installed in the state of Rio Grande do Norte in north-eastern Brazil with a combined capacity of 104MW, while Equinor — formerly known as Statoil — operates three wind farms off the coast of the UK, and is developing further offshore sites in Germany and the United States.

The MoU, signed at a conference in Rio de Janeiro, does not oblige either company to undertake any business, they announced.

However, it "indicates the intention of the companies to work together to develop projects in the offshore wind energy segment", Equinor and Petrobras added.

"Brazil has huge potential for offshore wind power generation and we want to take advantage of this potential together," said Petrobras’ director of strategy, organisation and management system, Nelson Silva.

Brazil currently has just under 13.9GW of operational wind capacity, according to Windpower Intelligence, the research and data division of Windpower Monthly — all of which is onshore.

Corruption probe

Meanwhile, Petrobras has agreed to pay $853 million to the US Department of Justice (DoJ) and Securities and Exchange Commission, and the Brazilian Federal Prosecutor’s Office, following a long-running corruption investigation.

The US and Brazilian governments had launched the probe in connection with Petrobras’ role in facilitating the bribing of politicians and political parties.

The Brazilian state oil giant admitted it had failed to make and keep accurate and fair accounts, and that the company’s contractors had generated bribes with the cooperation of Petrobras executives.

US authorities agreed not to prosecute in exchange for the funds. The DoJ stressed that Petrobras was a victim of an "embezzlement scheme" carried out by former executives.

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