Petrobras has started the tendering process for machinery for the 28 pre-salt FPSOs to be built in Brazil. Hopes are that such a large order will attract the limited number of marine turbine manufacturers to set shop in Brazil.
The tendering process is expected to involve up to 128 units, including marine turbines, generators and compressors. Since there a but a handful of heavy marine turbine manufacturers in the world and with the local content policy demanding around 70% local content from shipboard equipment manufacturers, Petrobras hopes to attract some of the larger global marine turbine, generator and compressor suppliers to install manufacturing plants in Brazil. This may be interesting for all parties involved as most of these few manufacturers do not have heavy machinery manufacturing plants in South America and there is a huge and growing market for heavy marine machinery in most of the continent.
Leading marine turbine, generator and compressor manufacturers such as MAN Diesel, Rolls Royce, Wartsila, Dresser-Rand’s Peterborough, Siemens, General Electric, MTU, Caterpillar and Daihatsu may be attracted by the massive orders into investing in the construction of subsidiary manufacturing plants in Brazil, also looking at the probability of further orders in the long term, reasonably low labor costs and local and federal government incentives.
They may also be attracted to the interesting possibility of becoming a preferential marine machinery supplier for Petrobras and other local and foreign companies that may soon be ordering ships from Brazil´s growing shipbuilding market. The rate of growth of the Brazilian shipbuilding market is truly astonishing and presently dependent of orders from Transpetro, which is Petrobras´s maritime transportation branch, Brazilian mining giant Vale do Rio Doce and from Petrobras itself, for tankers, bulk carriers and FPSOs. Local and foreign companies are also placing strong orders for a wide variety of platform supply vessels, including anchor handling vessels and large multipurpose support vessels.
With the strong growth of the local shipbuilding market, it can be expected that some foreign investors will also be attracted to build ships in the new or renovated Brazilian yards, increasing the prospect for heavy marine machinery orders in Brazil. It is important to note that there simply are no local heavy machinery manufacturers in Brazil, so we can expect a bit of competition to go on between the major manufacturers to see who builds the first heavy marine machinery manufacturing plant in Brazil and clinches this major Petrobras order, which basically forces the manufacturer to set shop in the country due to the strategic local content policy.
Image courtesy of MAN Diesel