Transpetro, a unit of Brazil's state-run oil firm Petroleo Brasileiro SA, signed contracts worth
$866m for the construction of nine new oil tankers.
The Rio Naval consortium will build five Aframax tankers for $517m, and four Panamax oil tankers for $349 million , Petrobras said.
The vessels are to join Transpetro's fleet between 2009 and 2011, and are part of a $2.48b program to buy 26 new oil vessels in an initial phase. The first phase will create 11,000 direct jobs in Rio de Janeiro state alone, Petrobras said.
The shipbuilding program is financed by Brazil's National Development Bank and aims to bring down Petrobras' costs for chartering ships and to revitalize Brazil's once-flourishing shipbuilding industry.
Petrobras said it plans later to raise the number of new oil vessels to 42.