Petrobras launches oil tanker in Promef fleet modernization program

Source: Petrobras

Petrobras' (NYSE:PBR) Transpetro launched to sea the first ship built in the state of Rio de Janeiro under the Fleet Modernization and Expansion Program (Promef).

The vessel was christened Celso Furtado, in honor of the economist who participated in the creation of the Sudene (the Superintendency of the Development of the Northeast) and laid the foundations for Brazil's current cycle of economic growth. As the godmother, Transpetro decided to pay tribute to its workforce by choosing Giovana da Silva Almeida de Morais, a sailing staff employee and currently the first mate of the Pedreiras vessel.

Celso Furtado is a vessel that will be used to transport clear oil derivatives; it has capacity for 48,300 dwt, and is 183 meters long. In addition to the vessel christening and launch ceremony, the keel was laid for the second of four product vessels ordered from the Mauá Shipyard under the Promef, an act that symbolizes the commencement of the assembly of the new vessel.

The State of Rio, the biggest and most traditional naval pole in Brazil, has already received 16 ship orders under the Promef, involving a total of $2.2 billion in investments.

The program will create at least 50,000 jobs in the State, of which 10,000 direct and 40,000 indirect.

The Celso Furtado vessel is the first one ordered by the Petrobras System to a Rio de Janeiro shipyard to be launched to sea in 13 years. The last one had been the Livramento, which was completed in 1997 by the Eisa Shipyard. The Livramento took 10 years to be built, in the midst of a severe crisis in the industry. The Brazilian shipbuilding industry, which had been the second biggest in the world in the 1970s, virtually disappeared in the 1980s.

With the commissioning of 49 vessels under the Promef, one of the main projects of the GAP (the federal government's Growth Acceleration Program), the yards have been modernized and new plants have emerged, such as the Atlântico Sul Shipyard, in Pernambuco. Today, five years after the Promef was launched, Brazil already has the fifth largest oil tanker order portfolio in the world.

Across the country, the construction of 49 new Transpetro vessels will create about 200,000 direct and indirect jobs. Of the total foreseen, 46 vessels have already been put up for bidding and 38 have been contracted. The last three ships under the program are currently in their final tendering phase. With the Promef, it is expected that the Transpetro fleet, currently totaling 52 vessels, will top out at more than 100 ships in 2014.

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