SEMBCORP Marine will invest about S$222 million in a multi-functional steel fabrication facility which it says will enhance automation and productivity at its offshore rig building, conversion and production and ship-repair businesses.

To be located at its Sembmarine Integrated Yard @ Tuas (SIY@ Tuas), the facility will offer everything from a steel stock yard to a final assembly and finishing shop when it is completed in the third quarter of 2015.

The new facility will be equipped with advanced equipment and machinery, and will have a tonnage capacity of more than three times that of the existing hull shop at the group’s Tanjong Kling yard.

Designed to eventually be the central kitchen for steel fabrication for all three phases of the new Tuas yard, Sembmarine says it expects the overall efficiency of the facility to more than double.

Construction on Phase II of the development at the 34.5 hectare yard has already begun, with the company planning to add another three dry docks to the site, in light of high demand for the existing four Very Large Crude Carrier (VLCC) dry docks built in Phase I of the project.

Marine works for Phase II of the SIY@ Tuas facilities was originally estimated to be around S$489 million, including ancillary, mechanical and electrical works.

Together with the S$222 million to be invested in the steel fabrication facility, total investment is estimated at S$711 million, which the company intends to meet through a recently announced S$600 million bond issue and through internally generated funds.

Two of the three new docks will have a dry weight tonnage capacity of 150,000 tonnes and dimensions of 255 metres by 52 metres by minus eight metres, while the third will be a dedicated offshore dry dock (with dimensions of 255 metres by 110 metres by minus 12 metres depth) for offshore rig-building, upgrades and repairs.

The three new docks in Phase II will allow the group to service a broader spectrum of vessels, ranging from mid-sized to Suezmax commercial ships as well as to build offshore exploration and production units, such as jack-up and semi-submersible drilling rigs.

Sembmarine chief executive Wong Weng Sun said the new facilities would help the company benefit from an anticipated growth in demand for modern docking capacity.

“When Phase II is completed, we will have seven dry docks in operation including the four VLCC docks in Phase I. This will give the yard greater flexibility and enable us to keep work flowing continuously,” he said.

Included in the marine works is the construction of the finger pier – quays and wharves which will offer customers a total berthage of about two kilometres with maximum water depth ranging from minus nine metres to minus 18 metres.

Completion of the Phase II marine works is scheduled for the first quarter of 2017.