Sergio Machado starts the phase 2 of fleet renewal programme, Promef 2

After the successful completion of its first phase, Transpetro has initiated its phase 2 of the fleet renewal programme (Promef 2). Under the aegis of its President, Sergio Machado, Transpetro would soon divulge on the details for the same by the end of July and order is expected to be placed before the end of 2008. Sergio Machado expects the total expenditure to be between $1.4Bn and $1.5Bn. The new Atlantico Sul shipyard is expected to pick up about onethirdto half of the new orders.

Sergio Machado said, “We are almost ready to move ahead with phase two of our fleet renewal programme. The recent discoveries of oil in the Tupi and Carioca fields mean it is imperative to keep bringing onstream more vessels to deal with the expected export bonanza that will follow in the near future.”

He would not say whether the Promef 1 contract for three gas carriers – originally granted to Estaleiro Itajai(EI) – would be rolled over into Promef 2 or not. A refusal by BNDES to hand over an approved loan to EI simply means that Transpetro’s management must decide whether to roll over the $139M contract to Promef 2 or wait for BNDES to make an agreement with the current owner of EI or possible new owners.

EI won the tender for the contract back in early 2007 but a series of setbacks for the yard’s then owner Frank Wlasek (who also owned Metalnave, the shipping company that transports chemicals) meant that several delays ensued. Subsequently, Wlasek sold both Metalnave and EI to the Spanish shipping group Elcano. Now, according to reliable industry sources in Rio de Janeiro, the Spaniards want to move ahead with the newbuilding plan, although further delays can be expected.

If the transfer of the project to Elcano falls through then the three gas carriers will be rolled over into phase 2 of Promef, Transpetro sources told Solutions.

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