Tehran: Iran, holder of the world’s second-largest oil and gas reserves, will order its first four chemical tankers from Hyundai Mipo Dockyard Co., provided Tehran can convince foreign banks to finance the deal.
The unit of the world’s biggest shipbuilder gave the best offer to built the vessels, National Iranian Tanker Co. Chairman Mohammad Souri said in an interview. Each vessel will cost an estimated $46 million (Rs203 crore), he said. PPSC, a joint venture between NITC, Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines and Iran Petrochemical Commercial Co., placed the tender.
“Everything depends on financing,” Souri said . “Financing has become a bit tougher these days, therefore it may delay the project, but it’s not going to stop it.”
Korean as well as European banks have shown interest in financing the deal, Souri said, declining to provide names.
Financing problems, which are directly linked to Iran’s nuclear programme, may delay its plan to buy 20 chemical tankers and another 10 liquefied natural gas vessels by 2010. NITC, like many Iranian companies, only gets financial support from the government for domestic orders. Iranian shipyards currently do not have the know-how to build chemical vessels, nor very large crude carriers, known as VLCCS, or LNG vessels.
Iran plans to export 24.5 million tonnes of chemical products by 2012, which requires 180 ships, Souri said. The delivery date for the first chemical tankers is “about 2009”, he said.