Quanzhou shipyard moves to build rigs in 2008

Titan Petrochemicals Groups Ltd. says its $330-million shipyard in southern China will begin building semisubmersible rigs and other offshore marine projects by the end of 2008.

Offshore staff

HONG KONG -- Titan Petrochemicals Groups Ltd. says its $330-million shipyard in southern China will begin building semisubmersible rigs and other offshore marine projects by the end of 2008.

The first phase of the 110-hectare (272-acre ) Titan Quanzhou Shipyard at Meizhou Bay delivered two bunker tankers in August. Contracts to handle oil and gas projects are being negotiated as more yard facilities and space are readied at the Houyu Island site in Fujian province.

The yard is designed for four drydocks with a combined capacity of about 1 million dwt to repair, outfit, and convert vessels, says Tan Mong Seng, senior consultant.

The yard will have a 3,000-m (9,842.5 ft) waterfront, part of which will be in deepwater, allowing the addition of floating docks, Tan says, adding that it also is ideally located for ships plying the Shanghai, Dalian, and Shandong trade points, which constitute China's major ports.

Berry C. Cheung, Titan Petrochemicals CEO, underscored the importance of diversifying into the shipyard business to focus on the increasing volume of offshore and marine engineering projects to restructure oil logistics, which includes a fleet of VLCCs (very large crude carriers).

Cheung says both Titan Petrochemicals and the shipyard will focus on offshore and marine engineering work. The yard already has up $210 million in tanker building contracts with associate company Titan Oil, and a number of projects are being negotiated.

The yard is expected to employ more than 9,000 workers when in full operation in mid-2010. The local government has reserved 6,000 hectares (14,826 acres) in an industrial park outside the yard for ancillary and supporting industry.

Cheung sees the possibility of cash-rich Titan Petrochemicals helping to develop supporting industries in the designated park as the volume of work increases at the yard.

Hong Kong-listed Titan Petrochemicals has recently taken 100% ownership of the yard.

9/10/2007

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