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Work begins on new Keppel yard in Azerbaijan

Singapore: Keppel Offshore & Marine reports that ground-breaking has taken place on a new 52-hectare shipbuilding and shiprepair facility in Baku, Azerbaijan that it is developing and will manage under a joint venture with State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR) and Azerbaijan Investment Company (AIC) to develop and manage. ??

The new SOCAR-Keppel Shipyard will be developed over a period of two to three years with an investment of US$386 million. Under the jv agreement Keppel O&M has taken a 10% share of the yard, and SOCAR and AIC the other 65% and 25% respectively. Keppel O&M will be responsible for the management and operation of the yard, and will have the option to acquire another 10% stake in the next three years. ??

The new yard is designed to undertake construction of a variety of vessels ranging from offshore support vessels to tankers, as well as ship repair and conversion.

??Speaking at the yard's groundbreaking ceremony today, Singapore's Minister for Foreign Affairs, George Yeo, said, "A new chapter has opened in our bilateral relationship. There is great potential for the strengthening of economic and other ties. ... Although Singapore has no oil or gas, we have a strong chemicals and maritime support cluster, with many Singapore-based companies supporting the operation of large oil and gas companies." ??

Rovnag Abdullayev, President of SOCAR, pointed out that his company and Keppel had first joined forces 13 years ago to form the Caspian Shipyard Company in Baku. "The new SOCAR-Keppel Shipyard is envisaged to be on par with the best shipbuilding facilities in the world," he said.

Tong Chong Heong, CEO of Keppel O&M, said, "We are pleased to strengthen our win-win partnership with SOCAR through the development of the new SOCAR-Keppel Shipyard. This latest venture...  will place us in pole position to capture opportunities from the growth of the Caspian region."

??Strategically located along the East-West energy corridor of the Caspian Sea region, the new yard is intended to help meet the growing needs of the local oil industry and support the renewal of SOCAR's vessel fleet. Spanning a 1,630-metre waterfront, the yard, when completed, will be able to undertake 80 to 100 repairs and conversions per annum and is estimated to achieve an average annual steel throughput of 25,000 tons when operating at full capacity.  [19/03/10]

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