Chouest signs Brazil port deal

Brazilian port infrastructure firm Prumo has signed a rental agreement with US vessel builder and operator Edison Chouest.

Under the agreement, Edison Chouest will build an offshore logistics support base and ship repair yard for its vessels at Açu Port, in São João da Barra, Rio de Janeiro (pictured).

Edison Chouest has signed an agreement to rent 255,200sq m for 15 years, renewable for three more periods of five years. The 440m wharfline can house up to 12 berths. The company can also increase its wharfline by 220m within 12 months and a further 220m within 18 months, being able to double its capacity and achieve a wharfline of 880m able to house 18 vessels, and an area of up to 510,400sq m.

The new base will be at T2, at Açu Port, and will be able to receive up to 12 vessels. In total, T2 has a 13km wharfline and 10m draught and serves the oil and gas sector.

Gary Chouest, the CEO of Edison Chouest Offshore, said Açu has the best conditions for constructing offshore bases in Brazil.

“In addition to its strategic location near Campos Basin and its excellent draught, Açu Port is ready and has an area available in the surroundings, which makes it possible to expand our plant and bring in a chain of suppliers. These qualities as a whole were fundamental to our choice."

“The construction of this base at Açu Port is essential for the expansion plans of Edison Chouest in Brazil. It will enable us to serve our existing clients, but also to expand to serve new contracts that are in negotiation," said Ricardo Chagas, an officer of Edison Chouest.

R$950 million is forecast to be invested in developing the plant, which is set to begin operating at the start of 2015. A total of 900 jobs will be created at the base.

"We are embarking upon a new stage at Açu Port, with the pace of the works being resumed, favorable financing conditions secured and a new management team at the helm. Plants are already in operation and vessels are forecast to begin using the T2 channel in the coming months," said Eduardo Parente, Prumo CEO."Edison Chouest's arrival will contribute to an acceleration in the occupation of the landside yard near T2 channel. An offshore support base of the size that Chouest is going to build will represent an important anchor which will attract the entire chain of marine goods and services for the oil exploration industry to set up at Açu Port.  This agreement reinforces our clients' confidence and the importance of the venture to the oil and gas sector."

Founded as Edison Chouest Boat Rental in Galliano, Louisiana, in 1960, the Edison Chouest Offshore companies (ECO) has a growing fleet of more than 230 vessels, ranging from 87-360ft-long.

The firm has recently made moves into subsea support, integrated bridge systems, and global communications. In Brazil, Edison Chouest has 70 offshore marine support vessels operating for Petrobras, Shell, Queiroz Galvão, Total, Repsol, and Statoil, 10 ROVs (remotely operated vehicles), and a shipyard in Navegantes (SC), which builds siz vessels a year.

Açu Port

With 17km of piers, which can moor up to 47 vessels simultaneously, Açu Port is being constructed in São João da Barra, in northern Rio de Janeiro. Occupying 90sq km the venture is comprised of Terminal 1 (T1 - offshore) and Terminal 2 (T2 - onshore), which has received investment of R$ 5.2 billion.

T1 will consist of a 3km access bridge, a tugboat pier, nine oil and iron-ore piers, approach channel and turning basin. Of these, two iron ore piers, the tugboat pier, approach channel and turning basin are now ready. The first shipment of iron ore at Açu Port is scheduled for the second half of this year.

T2 is being built around a 6.5km-long, 300m-wide approach channel with a current 8.5m-depth. Works are ongoing for the construction of the approach channel, turning basin, construction of the concrete blocks to be used in the breakwater, and implementation of the transmission line. 

With a wharf line of more than 13 km, T2 will handle pig iron, coal, vehicles, liquid and solid bulk, general cargo and oil. Açu Port is forecast to come into operation in June this year.

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