Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Crowley Planning Petroleum Fleet Expansion

Crowley Maritime Corp. says it plans to contract with Aker Philadelphia Shipyard to build up to eight product tankers for delivery between 2015 and the end of 2017.

Construction contracts have been signed with APSI for the first four 330,000-barrel tankers, with deliveries in 2015 and 2016, according to Crowley. Additional agreements between the two parties include options for building up to four more tankers and for expanding the cooperation initiated with Aker’s sale and delivery of two product tankers, the Florida and Pennsylvania, to Crowley in 2012 and 2013.

If all options are exercised, Crowley’s petroleum fleet would grow to ten 330,000-barrel tankers and 17 articulated tug barges, ranging in capacity from 155,000 to 330,000 barrels.

“Through this expansion and cooperative agreement with Aker we will be providing our customers with more options for transporting their product with greater safety and efficiency,” company Chairman and CEO Tom Crowley said in a statement. “We expect these new ships to be well received by longstanding customers as well as new customers.”

The new 50,000-dwt product tankers are based on a proven Hyundai Mipo Dockyards (HMD) design which incorporates numerous fuel efficiency features, flexible cargo capability and the latest regulatory requirements.

The vessels are to be constructed with consideration for the use of LNG for propulsion in the future, according to Crowley. HMD and APSI collaborated on the successful construction of 14 product tankers at APSI between 2007 and 2013. Design and procurement activities are already underway to support the start of construction of Crowley’s first newly-contracted tanker in January 2014.

APSI expects to invest in the partnership for the first four vessels, consistent with the requirements of the Jones Act. Crowley is expected to maintain control over the ownership, technical operation and commercial management of the vessels, while APSI and Crowley would share in the new vessels’ operation and chartering.

“This strategic opportunity allows us to capitalize on the increased demand for Jones Act tankers in a way that will transform APSI in the years ahead,” Aker President and CEO Kristian Rokke said.

Crowley currently owns and operates 17 articulated tug barges (ATBs) ranging in size from 155,000-bbl to 330,000-bbl capacity, and two 330,000-bbl product tankers. The company also provides tanker management services for other US companies.