Brazil's state oil giant Petrobras
said Tuesday it declared force majeure on Monday on oil deliveries to barges in the ports of Santos and Rio de Janeiro.
Petrobras said it was forced to declare force majeure to clients due to a federal police investigation into an alleged crime ring at the ports that is impeding deliveries.
While the force majeure was declared to clients on Monday, Petrobras only confirmed it late Tuesday.
"Petrobras declared force majeure on all of the oil delivery operations in Rio and Santos ports," a Petrobras spokesman
said. He said he did not know how long the force majeure would be in place.
The spokesman said the force majeure would hit outgoing oil deliveries to foreign and local clients, but declined to give more details about daily exports or deliveries at the ports. He said incoming oil deliveries would
not be affected.
"Our clients have the information they need," the spokesman said. "The police investigation is out of our hands, and we can't say when the problem will be cleared up."
Analysts said that the force majeure declaration would not have a big impact on oil supply and demand even if both imports and exports were affected as long as it is short-lived.
"If it's only a short period of time, it shouldn't matter, said Myles McDougall, an oil sector analyst at ABN Amro in Sao Paulo.
"There should be enough oil stocks and oil on barges to absorb a delay over a few day period, but there could be some issues if it went beyond that," he said.
Analysts said Petrobras' hard-won reputation as an efficient oil company that wants to compete with the major oil giants could take a knock if the problem is not resolved quickly.