Transpetro, the transportation arm of Brazilian oil company Petrobras, has suspended the purchase of 16 of the 24 oil tankers worth BRL5.3bn ($2.7bn) ordered from Estaleiro Atlantico Sul (EAS) shipyard due to late delivery.
The company ordered these vessels as part of its BRL10.8bn ($5.41bn) fleet-renovation programme but the first vessels delivered by EAS were nearly two years late.
Transpetro said that the contracts for 16 vessels will remain suspended until EAS meets certain conditions, including finding a partner with technical experience in shipbuilding after Samsung Heavy Industries divested its 6% stake in the business.
In addition, the company is also demanding EAS present an action plan and a schedule for reliable construction of the ships as well as an engineering design for the vessels that meets contract specifications.
The government of Brazil wants local companies to build the drilling rigs, production platforms and other ships for Petrobras to develop recently discovered offshore oil fields.
Transpetro last week said it would fine the shipyard for the late delivery of the second vessel, ‘Joao Candido’ which was originally scheduled to be delivered in September 2010.
The company has not suspended its order for five ships that EAS is building with the assistance of South Korea’s Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI).
An auditing commission will be formed by the company to monitor ship production at EAS and other shipyards building vessels for Transpetro.
EAS, which is owned by local construction firms Camargo Correa and Queiroz Galvao, also holds orders to build 22 tankers, seven drilling rigs, an oil-platform hull and top-side finishing for another platform.