PDVSA Could Build New Local Shipyard with China, Iran

Building, repairing and doing maintenance work on existing and new oil tankers could mean the expansion of Venezuela's state-owned shipyard, Dianca, and perhaps even the creation of a new shipbuilding company with China or Iran, an official with the PDV Marina transport subsidiary of state oil firm PDVSA told reporters.

For a total cost of US$2.6bn, PDVSA has either commissioned or promised to commission 42 new ships from suppliers in Argentina, Brazil, China and Iran. The ships are scheduled to start arriving in 2008, according to a schedule PDV Marina director Armando Valladares produced.

At least three of those ships could be built in Venezuela using technology from one of the four partner nations, Valladares said.

Dianca already has a project to expand its shipyards, with a new ditch to handle vessels of up to 180,000 tons as well as a floating dock, Valladares said.

A further shipyard could be built together with China or Iran.

"As a matter of fact, the Iranians are very interested in building a shipyard here, either with PDVSA or with another state entity," Valladares said.

PDVSA has a mandate to handle 50% of its crude and liquid fuels exports by the year 2012, but if all the ships are finally purchased, it will have capacity to transport 55% of all its exports, Valladares said. Currently PDV Marina's own vessels are only transporting some 26% of exports.

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