International Maritime Industries (IMI) – a joint venture of Saudi Aramco, Lamprell, Bahri, and Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) located in King Salman Complex for International Maritime Industries and Services at Ras Al-Khair – has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with HHI and Bahri to pursue long-term activities such as the construction of very large crude carriers (VLCCs) in South Korea.
IMI is being developed to include four build offshore rigs and more than 43 new build vessels, including VLCCs.
Major production operations at IMI are due to commence by end-2020, with the facility reaching its full production capacity by 2022.
Bahri will issue IMI its first VLCC order before the end of July 2019, at which point IMI will engage HHI as a sub-contractor for building the carriers.
IMI has also signed a strategic cooperation agreement with Hyundai Global Services, which will see the South Korean prioritising IMI facilities as repair shipyard for the scope of MRO business of retrofit.
Both parties will continue to work on co-developing technology to improve efficiencies, reduce life cycle costs, and prolong the life expectancy of their assets.
Commenting on the agreement, IMI's chief executive officer, Fathi K Al-Saleem, said: “This agreement provides many benefits for IMI including transfer of knowledge from HHI to IMI, a mechanism to grant use of intellectual property (IP) to IMI, development plans for IMI employees to acquire new skills in shipbuilding and planning, and technical assistance.
“This agreement contributes to the long-term growth of this new industry in Saudi Arabia and will enable IMI to independently build VLCCs in Saudi Arabia to the highest international shipbuilding standards.”