Keppel Launches Kazakhstan's First Barge

Keppel Kazakhstan LLP has launched transportation barge AKKU1, built for Agip Kazakhstan North Caspian Operating Company N.V. (Agip KCO).

The launch marks a significant milestone as AKKU1 is the first offshore vessel ever built in Kazakhstan. His Excellency Mr. Nursultan A Nazarbayev, President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, graced the launching ceremony as the guest of honor.

AKKU1 is one of four barges that Keppel Kazakhstan is constructing for Agip KCO. It is 92 meters long, 30 meters broad, and 6 meters deep, equipped with auto ballasting system to facilitate skid-on/skid-off operations. Delivery of this barge is expected within this year. Thereafter, the remaining parts of the contract which include the other barges, the pipe racks and other structures will be delivered progressively.

The project was awarded last year at approximately US$150 million. It will support the development of the Kashagan oil field.

Kashagan, which has recoverable reserves of up to 13 billion barrels, is one of the largest fields discovered over the last 30 years. The oil and gas sector is the engine that drives the Kazakh economy and the Kashagan project is expected to make positive contributions in the areas of employment, training and growth of the local industry in the realization of the project's development.

Mr. Yick Ping Wong, President of Keppel Kazakhstan, said, "Keppel Kazakhstan is proud to be a part of this new and exciting development at Kashagan. It is committed to develop a modern facility that will benefit the local Kazakh economy.

"The launch of AKKU1, is also a celebration of an achievement by our local people, who have worked hard hand in hand with their Singaporean counterparts towards the completion of this flagship project. It is our hope that know-how and skill sets are transferred from Singaporean talents to our Kazakh work force to build up a pool of qualified tradesmen here, that will not only benefit future projects undertaken by Keppel Kazakhstan, but also the industry as a whole."

Through Keppel Kazakhstan, Kazakhstan's first shipyard, over one thousand locals have access to job opportunities, through direct and indirect employment. Furthermore, the yard has collaborated with local schools to develop educational and training programs to equip the workforce.

Keppel Kazakhstan is located in the seaport city of Aktau on the north-eastern part of the Caspian Sea, set up in April 2003 to participate in and contribute to the emerging offshore oil and gas industry in the Kazakh Sector of the Caspian Sea. Keppel Kazakhstan complements its sister yard, Caspian Shipyard Company (CSC) in strengthening Keppel O&M's presence in the Caspian Sea.

The yard's principal activities include the design, construction, conversion and repair of offshore drilling units and structures, specialized vessels such as tugs and supply boats, and the provision of offshore supply and logistics base.

Keppel Offshore & Marine, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Keppel Corporation Limited, is the global leader in offshore rigs, ship-repair and conversion and specialized shipbuilding. Keppel O&M's "near market, near customer" strategy is bolstered by a global network of 17 yards in the Asia Pacific, Gulf of Mexico, Brazil, the Caspian Sea, Middle East and the North Sea regions. Integrating the experience and expertise of its yards worldwide, the group aims to be the provider of choice and partner in solutions for the offshore and marine industry.

Agip KCO is involved in hydrocarbon exploration in the North Caspian Sea off the coast of the Republic of Kazakhstan. Partners in Agip KCO include Agip, ExxonMobil, TotalFinaElf, Philip Petroleum, Shell, Inpex and Kazmunaygaz.