Newbuild Sapura Diamante Commences Work for Petrobras Off Brazil

SapuraKencana Petroleum Berhad announced Wednesday that its Brazilian joint venture firm Sapura Navegacao Maritima's (SNM) first pipelaying support vessel (PLSV) commenced operations for Petrobras in the pre-salt waters off Brazil, three months ahead of contractual delivery date.

Newbuild PLSV Sapura Diamante, owned by SNM, which is an equal joint venture between SapuraKencanca and Seadrill, begun work for Petrobras June 28.

"This is indeed a key milestone for us as it signals the start of SapuraKencana's PLSV operations in Brazil, our single biggest foreign market," Shahril Shamsuddin, president and Group CEO of SapuraKencana Petroleum said in a press release.

In November 2011 and in June 2013, SNM was awarded 2 contracts by Petrobras worth a $4.1 billion to build and operate 6 PLSVs for offshore work in Brazil. Three of the PLSVs from the contract awarded in 2011 would be on 5 plus 5 year contracts while the remaining 3 from the contract in 2013 would be on 8 plus 8 year contracts.

SNM, which employs more than 300 people to provide offshore support services and work as offshore crew, is providing continuous training and development to upgrade local employee skills and there are plans to ramp up the number of workers to around 1,000 by the year 2016 when all contracted PLSVs are delivered and are in full operation.

Sapura Diamante was built by IHC Merwede in Rotterdam, Netherlands, while the second vessel Sapura Topazio, which was recently launched in Rotterdam and is now being fitted for work, is expected to be put into service in Brazil by the end of this year.

PLSVs under construction included Sapura Onix, which is planned to become operational in mid-2015, while Sapura Jade, Sapura Esmeralda and Sapura Rubi are scheduled to be delivered progressively in 2016.

"We are confident that we will be able to fulfill our remaining contractual obligations to Petrobras in similar fashion and continue developing more local expertise in Brazil," Sharil added.

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