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Brazil eyeing Japan's help in oil extraction project: reports

TOKYO--Brazil plans to use Japanese technology in building a floating structure and ships for its huge offshore oil development project, media reports said Sunday.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff will announce the use of Japanese technology in building a so-called “logistics hub” for the project when they meet in Brazil on Aug. 1, according to a draft of their joint statement, Kyodo news agency said.

The massive floating structure under consideration would be about 300 meters (984 feet) long and 100 meters wide, Kyodo said, citing government sources.

Abe is scheduled to leave on a tour of Central and South America on Friday.

Abe and Rousseff will also announce that Brazil will launch a program this year to upgrade its shipbuilding industry by training experts with Japanese help, according to the draft.

The business daily Nikkei said the leaders are expected to reach agreement during their talks on cooperation in the project to develop the field off Brazil.

Petrobras, Brazil's government-affiliated oil company, aims to start production by 2020 at the field which is estimated to hold more than 50 billion barrels worth of oil reserves, Nikkei said.

Under current plans, the paper said, Petrobras will eventually need to procure 50 floating oil platforms, which cost roughly 100 billion yen (US$987 million) each.

It will also need 50 deep-sea drilling vessels costing 60 billion yen (US$592 million) apiece, as well as ships to carry vast amounts of personnel, equipment and supplies.

All told, the project is expected to cost around 20 trillion yen (US$197 billion), Nikkei said.

Major Japanese shipbuilders, such as IHI and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, are proposing to build large floating platforms, Nikkei said.

It added that the semi-governmental Japan International Cooperation Agency had plans to partner with Japanese shipbuilders to train Brazilian specialists in shipbuilding technologies.

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