Petrofac bribery shadow clouds Barmer tenders

Vol 22, PW 24 (19 Sep 19) People & Policy

Petrofac’s participation in several tenders related to the upcoming 9m t/y refinery and petrochemicals complex at Barmer in Rajasthan have been thrown into doubt following a bribery charge in the UK against a senior Petrofac executive over unrelated projects in Saudi Arabia and Iraq.

Three separate EPC contractors tell this report a senior Petrofac executive arrived in Delhi on September 3 from Sharjah to reassure worried Barmer refinery promoter Hindustan Petroleum (HPCL) and project consultant Engineers India following "informal concerns" over the UK government's Serious Fraud Office (SFO) announcement on February 7 that former Petrofac global head of sales David Lufkin, 51, had pleaded guilty to 11 counts of bribery contrary to sections 1(1) and 1(2) of the Bribery Act 2010. It's understood the meeting with the (unidentified) Petrofac executive took place at EIL's office in Gurgaon outside Delhi.

"EIL and HPCL wanted additional clarifications and reassurance (from Petrofac) about the fallout from the (Lufkin) bribery charge," reports a source. Another source adds HPCL’s "committee of functional (full-time) directors’ along with EIL was scheduled to meet on September 16 to discuss what to do.

"This is a very sensitive issue," said a senior EIL official. "Don’t expect me to comment either way."

Uncertainty at EIL and HPCL about how to respond to Lufkin's conviction is widely believed to be behind a decision not to open five Barmer process package bids where Petrofac is a bidder.