Vyborg settled on the Caspian coasts

OJSC «Vyborg Shipyard» proceeded with preliminary project developments to build a new shipyard.

Presently this is the unique case: the last time when a shipbuilding enterprise was built in Russia was in the Soviet time, and even in the area of the present «near foreign countries». The more interesting point is that the owner of the Vyborg Shipyard (VS) - CJSC «AKO BARSS» – acquired the Vyborgsky shipyard from the Norwegian concern Kvaerner in 2000. The Norwegians sold the yard because of low gains. For five years the Russian managers could not only prove the opposite but prepare for the start of a new project.

The VS was the first one in Russia to be certified according to the ISO 9002 quality system. Nowadays the yard has the Det Norske Veritas certificates, those of the Russian Maritime Register of Shipping, Lloyd’s Register of Shipping, Germanischer Lloyd, Bureau Veritas, and RINA.

In 2000, the VS managers discovered a strategically prospective direction of development – the Caspian one. For the last Soviet years the Vyborg Shipyard has been specializing in building semi-submersible and jack-up offshore drilling platforms, the majority of which has been operating in the Azerbaijan shelf.

Therefore, when the Iranian State oil company announced a tender for the construction of a semi-submersible drilling platform and floating production supply vessels, the VS immediately submitted a bid thus entering into competition with 8 first-rate world concerns. As a result, the clearly «political» order fell to the lot of the Iranian shipyard Sadra which was one of the two companies which reached the finish, including the VS; however, Vyborg Shipyard received several subcontracts. And the main thing is that it could penetrate into the specific Caspian market of the maritime equipment.

«Its specific feature is that it is developing in conditions of the strongest investment activity, - says Serguey Zavialov, the Director General of the shipyard. The increase of prices for energy resources and their revealed shortage make the world fuel giants invest in the extraction and transportation of raw materials. At the same time ship transportation of hydrocarbons can hardly be as effective as pipeline transportation. Especially if one takes into consideration the oil pipeline Baku-Ceyhan which will start its operation by the end of this year. The states of the Eastern cost of the Caspian Sea understand it and develop their own programs of building vessels and port terminals. As a rule, the matter concerns the very large-scale projects whose cost is measured in hundreds of millions dollars. The second point is the participation of the international financial institutions that always make tough requirements on the quality of projects and their implementation. One should remember the eastern specific attitude toward business, i.e. the human relationship, the reputation is often more important here than gains».

In 2002, the Golden Century project started in Turkmenistan; it involves the expansion of the Ekerem port (actually the building of a new one). Situated in the south-eastern coast of the Caspian Sea, Ekerem should become the biggest port in Turkmenistan. The Vyborgsky Shipbuilding Company made a contract with the State-owned concern «Turkmenneft» for the development of the technical and economic ground by «Golden Century» at the cost of approximately 1 million dollars. The VS experts have already proceeded with the survey works in the Ekerem’s site.

The Central Asia Shipping Ltd company (Kazakhstan) placed an order at the yard for building a series consisting of 12 tankers of the total displacement of 144 000 tons. The ship design was developed by the design bureau «Vympel» (Nizhni Novgorod) which took account of the specifics of their operation. The first tanker “Astana” designed for the transportation of crude oil having a displacement of 12 000 tons was delivered to the customer in January 2005. It was during its construction that the Vyborg shipbuilders mastered the process technique of assembling the tanker hull with its bow part afloat for the first time.

Tanker «Astana»

Length overall

149,35 m

Design breadth

17,3 m


10,1 m


10,6 knots


about 12 000 t

The yard’s plans is building of barge-and-tow trains of deadweight capacity up to 30 000 tons. «Thus Kazakhstan is becoming our priority partner, – Serguey Zavialov says. – It is possible that after tankers we will participate in the development of the maritime infrastructure of the Caspian coastline. Kazakhstan is implementing a huge program of development of offshore deposits for which there is need for a developed infrastructure: terminals, ports, servicing fleet. Special drilling modules, vessels, and floating craft will be required».

The prospective orders need expanded production capacities. In April 2005, OJSC «Vyborg Shipyard» and the Kazakh Mobilex Energy company signed a contract for establishing a joint venture with the parity authorized capital stock. The joint venture will be involved in developing new capacities of the Vyborg Shipyard and is planning to build a new production site near the existing shipyard’s area. There will be much need for significant investments (the experts estimate them of 200 to 250 million dollars). The yield planned of not less than 100 millions per year by 2007 justifies such scope of investments.

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# 2(12), 2005