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Oman outlines $4bn fleet expansion

Dubai: Oman's state shipping firm will spend up to $4 billion in the next three to four years to expand its fleet size, a senior company official said, part of the sultanate's efforts to upgrade its oil industry. Oman Shipping Company (OSC) is looking to grow its fleet mainly to meet demand for energy transportation, chief financial officer Kuldeep Mathur told Reuters in a recent phone interview.
"We are expanding the fleet with a view of the future demands for our export grade crudes and products."

Part of OSC's multi-billion dollar expansion includes a recent order to build 10 Very Large Crude Carriers (VLCCs), Mathur said.

In February, OSC placed two separate orders with South Korea's Hyundai Heavy Industries Co, the world's largest shipbuilder, to build five supertankers, and with Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering Co to build another five VLCC's. The deals were valued at about $770 million each.
OSC is in discussions with the National Iranian Tanker Company (NITC) on securing a long-term charter contract for at least five of the recently ordered supertankers, Mathur said.

"Yes, we are discussing the option with them, along with others, but we are not decided yet," Mathur said declining to offer details.

International pressure and the implementation of broad-based sanctions on Iran, led by the United States, have made it difficult for the Islamic Republic to access funding from financial institutions. [25/03/08]


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