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Petrobras sounds out Koreans for 240 newbuild orders

Seoul: Brazil's Petrobras is seeking around 240 offshore oil development vessels in the next five to six years, its chief financial officer said on Monday, deals that could bring new life to the stagnant global shipbuilding sector, Reuters reported.

"In the next five to six years, we are looking for 240 different vessels... (including) drillships, storage units, supply vessels, transportation vessels and others," Petrobras CFO Almir Barbassa told Reuters on the sidelines of a seminar held in Seoul.

Barbassa said that Petrobras would also issue tenders for eight floating product storage and offloading units (FPSO) and seven drill ships "soon."

A drillship costs about $800 million on average, while FPSOs cost about $1 billion, according to shipping sources.

"South Korean shipbuilders are among the best (in the world) with new technology and ways to reduce costs. They are very competitive in area of drillships and platforms and we welcome their participation," Barbassa said."

Petrobras executives, including Barbassa, held individual meetings with the top South Korean shipbuilders -- Hyundai Heavy Industries, Samsung Heavy Industries, Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering and STX Shipbuilding  -- on vessel orders worth $25 billion-$30 billion in total, of which $15 billion would be for drillships and semi-submersibles to be awarded this year. The firm already awarded 12 drillship orders to South Korean companies last year.

"The amount of deals to be discussed solely on this trip is about $28 billion," an official at Korea Export Insurance Corp (KEIC), the host of the seminar, said.

"Awards could begin as early as May."

Petrobras produces almost all of Brazil's 2 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude output and aims to boost its domestic output to 2.7 million bpd by 2013 through an ambitious $174.4 billion investment plan.  [21/04/09]


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