AUGUST 21, 2012 — The docking of the Petrobras 74 in Brazil's Estaleiros Inhaúma shipyard in Rio this week marked another milestone in the revitalization of Brazilian shipbuilding. The Inhaúma yard is the former Ishibras, established by Japan's IHI back in the days when Brazil seemed set to emerge as the next world shipbuilding giant. By the late 1970's Brazil had the world's second largest orderbook, and Ishibras was a leading force in VLCC construction. But the decline of the Brazilian shipbuilding industry saw the yard's orderbook evaporate and it was eventually abandoned and deteriorated for more than a decade without activities.
Now, as Estaleiros Inhauma, its future looks rosier. To meet its growing demands, Petrobras leased the shipyard in June 2010 and assumed its management for a period of 20 years. It has already rebuilt key installations such as its dry dock, which is now back in working condition.
The first ship to dock at the yard since its restoration, Petrobras 74, is a 275,546 dwt, 1993-built VLCC. It is one of three VLCCs bought by Petrobras for conversion into FPSO's with Estaleiros Inhaúma contracted to perform the hull conversions.
Petrobras 74 will be the first VLCC to be converted into an FPSO in Brazil and the first FPSO to be deployed in the Cessão Onerosa field in the pre-salt Santos Basin.
Work at Estaleiros Inhaúma will start with the inspection of the hull plates and disassembly of original equipment. Other work will include hull reinforcement, construction of new accommodation modules for 110 people, a full replacement of original equipment, and the manufacture and installation of 13 thousand tons of new structures needed to support the modules, the production lines and a new anchoring system among others.
The hull conversion work is scheduled for completion in June 2014.