Keppel FELS Limited (KFELS), the marine and offshore construction, conversion and repair company of the Keppel Group of Singapore has formed a joint venture with the PEM SETAL Group of Brazil to serve the increasing market of oil and gas exploration and production activities in Brazil and in the west coast of Africa. The joint venture company, FELS SETAL, has signed an agreement yesterday to sublease a Brazilian yard currently named Verolme.
The 360,000 sqm yard, owned by Ishibras Verolme Industries, is located in the city of Angra dos Reis, about two hours south of Rio de Janeiro. This signing ceremony was witnessed by His Excellency Anthony Garotinho, Rio de Janeiro Governor; his Secretary of State of Energy, Shipbuilding Industry and Petroleum, Mr Wagner Victer; the Vice-president of BNDES (Brazilian Economic and Social Development Bank), and other dignitaries. The shipyard is well placed to service the upgrading and repair needs of rigs working in the region. It is currently estimated that there are over 30 such drilling rigs in the nearby waters. Hitherto, owners had either to delay sending their rigs in for repairs or travel some distance for urgent repairs. The joint venture company, FELS SETAL, will now be able to provide quality work at competitive prices while reducing downtime for rigs. The shipyard is also well placed to serve the construction demands of the growing deepwater production markets of offshore Brazil and West Africa, where the PEM Setal Group is already well known. In addition, FELS SETAL also intends to seek out opportunities to construct ships and specialised vessels at the yard.
Said Mr Tong Chong Heong, Managing Director of Keppel FELS, at the signing ceremony on 2 March 2000, *This agreement is a big step towards our *near market, near customer* global strategy. With FELS SETAL, our customers in Brazil and West Africa will be able to avail themselves of the expertise and skills that they know and expect from Keppel FELS right at their doorstep.*
Mr Augusto Mendonça, Vice-president of the PEM SETAL Group, also heralded the timely agreement, "Our association with Keppel FELS in this venture will provide a real alternative to the offshore industry for more local Brazilian content and is in line with Government's efforts to foster local industry". He added, "The involvement of the Rio de Janeiro State government through Governor Antony Garotinho, who started important actions with the Federal Government towards the creation of laws and policies, was of fundamental importance and has brought positive results. The market being envisaged is very important and we are very optimistic, and the PEM SETAL Group, with their expertise and track record in module and platform construction, lends complementary skills to this joint venture*. Keppel FELS* initial investment cost will be directed at rehabilitating the yard so it is ready to carry out work within the next three months. Further investments will be phased in according to the requirements of the projects secured. The yard boasts a basic set of facilities that can be revamped to provide a steel throughput of some 60,000 tons a year, and the yard has a deep-water pier ready to take in VLCCs and a 660-ton gantry crane over a 300,000 dwt building
berth. Keppel FELS is a member of the Keppel Group, a Singapore-based conglomerate with businesses in marine, offshore, energy & infrastructure; property; banking and financial services; and telecommunications & logistics. Already a world leader in the design and construction of mobile drilling rigs, Keppel FELS also designs, builds and converts a whole range of floating production systems and specialised vessels.
The PEM SETAL Group consists of six companies involved in chemical and petrochemical, oil refining, oil and gas, steel, metallurgy, mining and fertilizer industries besides being involved in transportation, telecommunications and public and private infrastructure business. It has annual billings of US$ 250 million and employs over 5,000 direct employees