Iran launched its first of four domestically-produced aframax oil tankers into the Persian Gulf, according to media reports circulating today. They are being built for the Venezuelan state oil company.
The ship – capable of carrying up to 113,000 tons of oil – was built by the Iranian Marine Industrial Company (SADRA) during a two-year span. It will be delivered by late September. The tankers will each cost about $52 million.
This tanker constitutes as the first export shipbuilding activity of Iran; a SADRA representative stated that they would like to continue the trend by attracting more customers.
The remaining three vessels are to be built in the upcoming months as part of the 2007 contract signed with Venezuela. The full contract is worth an estimated $278 million.
Iran currently has about 40 operating oil tankers, but the fleet is primarily comprised of supertankers bought from foreign shipbuilders.
Iran and Venezuela are members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and have strengthened economic ties in recent years.