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Venezuela orders crude tankers from Itochu Corp.

Eric Watkins
OGJ Oil Diplomacy Editor

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 7 -- Itochu Corp. has won an order to supply four Aframax tankers to a subsidiary of Venezuela’s Petroleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA) and has commissioned Sumitomo Heavy Industries to build the vessels.

The ships will have a capacity of 104,300 dwt each and are scheduled for delivery in 2012. The four new vessels are likely to be added to a group of PDVSA tankers that transport oil produced in Venezuela to its refineries in the US and Europe.

Construction of the tankers will cost ¥25 billion with funding to be provided by the Japan Bank for International Cooperation, which reportedly agreed to provide ¥20 billion.

The agreement follows earlier ones in 2009, when Venezuela’s president Hugo Chavez signed 12 energy-related agreements with Japan’s former prime minister Taro Aso.

At the time, PDVSA signed a memorandum of understanding with Itochu, Mitsubishi, Itochu, Mitsui, and Marubeni regarding possible cooperation on the Mariscal Sucre LNG project.

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