A new shipbuilding and repair joint venture, International Maritime Industries (IMI), has been officially launched by the four participating partners, Saudi Aramco, Bahri, Lamprell and Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI). Scheduled to be fully operational in 2022, the new yard, located on the Gulf coast of Saudi Arabia, at Ras-Al-Khair, near Jubail, will be the largest facility of its kind in the Middle East, and one of the biggest anywhere worldwide.
Covering an area of almost 12 million m2, the yard will build a range of commercial vessels, including VLCC size tankers, offshore support vessels and oil and gas rigs. According to Saudi Aramco, the facility will be able to manufacture up to four rigs and 40 commercial ships a year, as well as carry out maintenance and repair services to up to 260 maritime projects annually.
The joint venture already has confirmed orders to build 20 rigs and 52 ships over the next decade, largely for Bahri and Lamprell, ensuring it has a solid programme of work from the outset. Production onsite is expected to commence in 2019, building up to peak capacity over the following three years.
The IMI joint venture is viewed by Saudi Aramco as being central to its strategy of becoming the world’s leading integrated energy and chemicals company. It claims the yard will also offer vessel and rig owners and operators in the region a competitive advantage compared with rivals.
According to Abdallah I. Al-Saadan, chairman of the joint venture’s management board and Saudi Aramco’s senior vice president, finance, strategy and development, “What is unique about IMI is the powerful synergy of manufacturing and operational excellence delivered by four established global and regional entities in the energy and maritime industries. The orders IMI has already received demonstrates the trust of the joint venture partners in the company’s ability to produce quality, bespoke ships and rigs in line with national and global environmental requirements. This in turn enables the building of an integrated supply chain that is localised and highly responsive.”
It has also been confirmed that the chief executive of IMI will be Fathi K. Al-Saleem, who has over 23 years of experience at Saudi Aramco in various senior positions. Speaking at the launch of the joint venture, Al-Saleem said he expected IMI to become a global competitor and a regional hub for maritime products and services.