Petrobras's Transpetro adds to oil tanker fleet

Eric Watkins
Senior Correspondent

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 2 -- Brazil on Jan. 31 signed contracts for the construction of 10 Suezmax-class oil tankers for the fleet of Transpetro, the transportation unit of state oil firm Petroleo Brasileiro SA (Petrobras), which plans to acquire a total of 42 new ships by 2015.

The contracts for the ships, valued at a total $1.16 billion, were signed at an official ceremony in the port of Suape, in the northeastern state of Pernambuco, location of the Atlantico Sur shipyard.

The ships will be built in the shipyard by Astillero Atlantico Sur, a consortium of Brazilian construction companies Camargo Correa, Andrade Gutierrez, and Queiroz Galvao, along with Norwegian shipyard Aker Promar and South Korean shipbuilder Samsung.

The 10 Suezmax-class tankers will be built with 90% financing from Brazil's state-owned development bank BNDES, which lent the consortium $1.16 billion—the largest loan ever made by BNDES to the maritime industry.

Reports said the new Atlantico Sur shipyard will have the capacity to build two new vessels every 18 months and an oil drilling platform every 36 months.

Contact Eric Watkins at hippalus@yahoo.com.

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