• 2015 August 19

    Specialization of labor

    Far Eastern Shipbuilding and Ship Repair Center (FESRC), which is now outside the United Shipbuilding Corporation (USC), hopes to consolidate all contracts on construction of marine facilities and vessels for offshore projects as the base for establishing a complex to build large capacity vessels. Potential customers, in their turn, are ready for partnership with all shipyards able for executing their orders and also count on state to support construction of vessels in Russia.

    Great future

    As of today, there are no facilities in Russia to build large capacity vessels. This gap is to be closed by Shipbuilding Complex Zvezda of the Far Eastern Shipbuilding and Ship Repair Center (FESRC), which is now outside USC. The complex is supposed to focus on construction of large capacity vessels and facilities for the development of offshore oil and gas fields. The project is controlled by a consortium established by Rosneft and Gazprombank in the form of the closed joint stock company Modern Shipbuilding Technologies.

    According to the Kommersant newspaper,  Rosneft head Igor Sechin addressed Russian President Vladimir Putin in July 2015 with a suggestion to introduce legislative measures securing oil and gas shipbuilding to the above shipyard, to establish there a unified site where all such orders could be consolidated and to allocate RUB 89 bln from the National Wealth Fund for that purpose. 

    In August 2015, at his meeting with RF Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, Igor Sechin openly called on oil and gas companies to grant heir orders to FESRC. According to the head of Rosneft, this shipbuilding complex is one of the projects in import substitution which should be supported and developed though general order for construction of marine facilities within Far Eastern Shipbuilding and Ship Repair Center has not been consolidated yet.

    “Rosneft and Sovcomflot have handed over their orders to FESRC … but we would like other offshore users – Gazprom, Lukoil and Novatek – to join this work as well,” Sechin said.

    In July 2015, Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co. (DSME, S. Korea) won a $2.8 bln contract for construction of nine LNG carriers under Yamal LNG project. Earlier NOVATEK head Leonid Mikhelson told journalists that “contract signed by DSME contains a compulsory condition of handing over the competences by the Korean company to the Russian shipyard” adding that such an agreement had already been signed between DMSE and Far Eastern Shipbuilding and Ship Repair Center. According to him, the agreement provides for obtaining of required competence, scientific and technical information as well as for training of specialists.

    When speaking with Dmitry Medvedev, Igor Sechin also said that FESRC cooperates with foreign partners. “The work involves both the western partners, the European partners, and the APR partners. We hope to be able to report on specific results in this area at the Forum in the Far East,” Sechin said.

    Curiously enough, the Far East project and USC seem to have some segments of overlap. For example, construction of icebreakers. Vyborg Shipyard (USC) is currently building two icebreakers intended for operation at the Arctic terminal under Gazprom Neft’s Novy Port project and an icebreaker intended for operation at port Sabetta under Yamal LNG project. Besides, the shipyard is building icebreaking supply ships for Sovcomflot.

    In this context, it is interesting to see the distribution of orders between USC and FESRC taking into consideration the appeal of Rosneft on consolidation of shipbuilding under offshore projects in the Far East.

    As Igor Tonkovidov, Executive Vice-President of Sovcomflot, commented for IAA port news, the Company cooperates with all Russian shipyards, including FESRC, that can build ships required by Sovcomflot for transportation of crude and oil products as well as special fleet intended for servicing of oil and gas projects on the continental shelf of Russia. 

    “Placing of Orders and construction of certain vessels depends on specific projects on shelf development and confirmed intention of oil and gas companies to charter the newbuildings. As for transportation of Russia’s export cargoes, gas and oil produced on the shelf, for which those vessels are required, it would be reasonable to apply certain regulatory measures aimed at encouraging the use of vessels built by Russian shipyards and flying the flag of the Russian Federation.  Such a mechanism would trigger a natural economic interest to shipbuilding products of domestic origin,” Igor Tonkovidov said.

    Time is money

    The FESRC project envisages the creation of Shipbuilding Complex Zvezda at Bolshoi Kamen bay  focusing on construction of large capacity vessels. The project is a constructed-from-scratch type with renovation of some facilities located within the development area. It will include the construction of all the production facilities and infrastructure and procurement of the production technology for the best functioning of the new enterprise. The shipyard facilities will feature the latest production equipment, robotic work cells, machine-driven and automated lines, standard jigs and fixtures, and IT systems to support the high-tech production and the use of machines and automation to ensure  a high quality and commercially successful product.

    When completed, the Zvezda Shipbuilding Complex will be able to build tankers with a displacement of up to 350,000 t, LNG carriers of up to 250,000 cubic meters, ice class vessels, specialized vessels with a launch weight of up to 29,000 t, offshore platform units, and other types of ships.

    It should be noted that Russian shipyards feature considerable limits today. They can only build civil ships with deadweight not exceeding 70,000 t while major demand falls on hydrocarbons carriers of Aframax type with capacity of 110,000-150,000 t. 

    The new shipbuilding complex should be built by 2018 in three phases. It is actually a question if the deadline will be met. No wonder that Igor Sechin has reportedly asked for NWF resources to complete the project. Yet, they have not been provided so far.

    The facilities built within the first phase of Zvezda are to ensure building of average-tonnage vessels and marine facilities. The second phase implies the construction of a dry dock and full cycle production premises for building of large capacity vessels and marine facilities. The third phase envisages the construction of a dry dock and production premises for building of offshore marine facilities at Pyaty Okhotnikov bay.

    FESRC is also supposed to have an engineering center for up to 300 employees. At the initial phase it will be focused on the development of working design documentation and preproduction engineering, then – on full-cycle designing of vessels and marine facilities including those of ice class. The center’s structure has already been formed and the mechanism for interaction of Russia and foreign design organizations has been elaborated.

    Besides, a cluster of related manufactures and competences is to be established there.

    The existing production facilities of FESRC shipyards can only build sea and river ships of up to 10,000 DWT. 

    Vitaly Chernov, Nadezhda Malysheva.