Brazil has just launched two new oil tankers, one a supertanker, in a bid by the government to keep oil import costs as low as possible.
Brazil has just launched two new oil tankers, one a supertanker, in a bid by the government to keep oil import costs as low as possible. Although Brazil produces some oil, its main supplies are still imported. Brazilian officials hope that using their own vessels to ship their oil will reduce costs.
SYNOPSIS: Brazil formed its own shipbuilding industry -- ISHIBRAS -- in 1959 and since then has established its own large merchant fleet. The latest additions are two tankers, and when launched (5 July) immediately increased the size of the fleet by five per cent.
The smaller of the two weighs just under eighteen thousand tons. She's the Diva -- but her larger sister ship the Barao de Maua weighs closer to two-hundred eighty thousand tons. Brazil's president Joao Figueiredo led the ceremonies.
Since President Figueiredo came to power (four months ago) Brazil has launched twenty-five ships and had another twenty-four delivered. In four months Brazil's merchant navy has doubled the size it was ten years ago. It is all part of a government programme to enlarge the merchant fleet.
The tankers were built for the national petroleum company -- Petrolias --. Brazil produces one hundred and seventy-thousand barrels of oil a day but most supplies are imported. Petrolias has massive investments in drilling operations off the Brazilian coast, backed by several multi-national oil companies. Officials are hoping more oil fields will be discovered which could in future by served by the new tankers.