Maritime support fleet to expand 15% by 2013


The fleet of maritime support vessels in the country is expected to grow by 15% by 2023, jumping from 367 registered in January this year to 415 boats, according to a projection by the Brazilian Association of Maritime Support Companies (Abeam). The increase is associated with demand from Petrobras and private oil companies (IOCs).

In the last four years, the fleet has shrunk significantly, plunging from 500 boats in 2014 to 360 at the end of 2018. The decline was a direct reflection of the reduction in E & P activities, due to lower oil prices and lower of Petrobras’ investments.

With the crisis, more than 80% of foreign-flagged vessels left the country during the period, since Brazilian legislation prioritizes the hiring of domestic vessels. Still, more than 70 vessels – most chartered for eight years, with possibility of renewal for the same period, by the Petrobras Maritime Support Fleet Renewal Program (Prorefam) – are now staked, according to Abeam.

In a meeting with the Minister of Infrastructure, Tarcisio Gomes de Freitas, at the end of February, the entity stressed that the “surplus” of vessels in Brazilian waters was motivated by production targets overestimated by Petrobras. Considering the difference between the goals of the current business plan and management of the oil company (2.8 million bopd) and that of 2011 (6 million bopd), the shortfall is more than 50%. The 2014-18 Business Plan, for example, predicted that by the end of 2017 Petrobras would have a fleet of 30 PLSVs (submarine launching vessels) at its service. However, only 18 were in fact in operation in December of that year.

Given this scenario, Abeam is seeking government support to re-adjust the financing conditions of vessels built in recent years with resources from the Merchant Marine Fund (FMM), as well as to promote regulatory adjustments to adapt the rules to the current reality of the sector .

Among the lawsuits is the suspension or immediate reduction of financing of idle vessels, without change of interest rates and guarantees, for a period of 24 months, aiming at preserving the national flag fleet and avoiding its reintegration of possession due to default and subsequent auctioning which would generate losses for government financial agents, such as BNDES, Caixa Econômica Federal and Banco do Brasil.

Source: Brazil Energy Magazine

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