AZERBAIJAN - Energy & Mining
General Manager, Baku Shipyard LLC
David Loh has been with Keppel in Singapore for 22 years, having accumulated vast experience in shipyard activities.
The Baku Shipyard is a national project in which the participating partners are SOCAR, the Azerbaijan Investment Company (AIC), and Keppel Offshore & Marine. Primarily, Baku Shipyard will focus on shipbuilding for clients operating in the Caspian Sea. The nationalization of Azerbaijan’s maritime industry is a key government focus, which is why the shipyard was built to a scale capable of accommodating all the shipbuilding and ship repair requirements of the Caspian. The shipyard will provide jobs for Azerbaijani nationals as well as excellent growth potential for the maritime industry, and also act as a spin-off to related industries. It will help attract international support from vendors and contractors to deepen the know-how of ship building activities in Baku. The development in the Caspian Sea is expected to be vibrant and operators are getting ready to meet additional demands. Baku Shipyard is designed to provide a good turnaround time for ship repairs, and is capable of building large tankers that provide economical solutions for clients. There have also been discussions on the possibility of transporting oil from Kazakhstan to Baku via the existing pipeline to the international market. Such a venture would require the chartering of tankers with a good turnaround time. This has led to the concept of the Caspianmax Tanker, similar to Panamax tankers. Ranging from 230 to 250 meters in length, they can transport between 60,000 and 70,000 dwt of oil. The shipyard is equipped with state-of-the-art technological facilities, readily capable of building such tankers. This is why Baku Shipyard has a capacity of 25,000 tons of steel per year, with a provision for expansion.
When we were engaged in yard development, we also had the opportunity to undertake shipbuilding projects. The first was our own floating dock that we constructed together with our associates, Caspian Shipyard Company. We completed the project successfully with our own newly employed manpower, contractors, and some makeshift facilities. Similarly, we built the first project, a 50T BP ASD Tug for our client, SOCAR Shipping. It turned out to be an excellent pilot project, which allowed us to better understand the actual processes and issues that we need to overcome here in Azerbaijan.
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