Azerbaijan State Caspian Sea Shipping Company May Join Construction of New Shipyard

Azerbaijan, Baku, 10 June / Trend corr I. Khalilova/ "Azerbaijani Investing Company OJSC (AIC) is negotiating with Korean STX to develop a new feasibility study for construction of a shipyard in Azerbaijan," Riad Gasimov, Deputy Chief Executive of AIC, said on 9 June.

According to Gasimov, the conception of the project was reviewed due to changed location place for the plant which will be constructed within the area of the SOCAR- owned Baku Deep Water Jacket Factory. Previously it was planned to be constructed in the Alat settlement.

On 19 May, SOCAR, AIC and Korean STX signed a memorandum on construction of a shipyard in Azerbaijan. SOCAR's share in the project will comprise 65%, AIC - 10% and STX Shipbuilding Co., Ltd - 25%.

Development of the feasibility study is expected to be completed in summer. Gasimov did not rule out that the Azerbaijan State Caspian Sea Shipping Company may join the project. "That will depend on cost of the project. New conception envisages construction on the basis of already available infrastructure, so the cost of the project will drop," he said.

According to outline feasibility study, construction required about $400mln (without expenditures for construction of a port).

In the first stage, managing of plant and implementation of new technologies will be carried out by STX. Later the management will be handed over to the main shareholder - SOCAR," Gasimov said.

The plant will be launched in 3 to 4 years at after construction begins, that is, in 2008. The facility is expected to be launched in 2011.

The shipbuilding facility will be a supplement to the project of construction of a new oil terminal and port in Garadag region of Azerbaijan. Kazakh oil will be shipped through this terminal for the further transit via Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan to Europe. The Kazakh tankers can be repaired in the shipbuilding facility in Azerbaijan and other ships from the Caspian region. The facility is expected to be only of its kind in the region with the orders being accepted both from abroad and within country.

At present, SOCAR possess Caspian Sea Oil Fleet with over 250 ships. All these ships support sea operations of the State Oil Company of the country. Moreover, the ships of the Fleet are engaged in supporting sea operations of large foreign companies operating in the Azerbaijani shelf of the Caspian and outside its boundaries. The Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources and State Border Service has a small number of ships as well.

The ships which carry cargo and convey passengers to the Caspian Sea are also owned buy the State Caspian Shipping Company. At present, the staff of the transport fleet of the Caspian shipping company includes 86 ships with 41 of them being tanker fleets (including 1 water carter), 35 - dry fleet and 10 assisting ships. The fleet includes universal Po-Po ships and also sea passenger railway ferries.

On 9 June, official rate totalled 0.8169 AZN/USD.

The correspondent can be contacted at [email protected]

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