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The Revitalized U.S. Title XI Financing Guarantee Program Available To The Energy Industry

The offshore oil industry is no stranger to Title XI financing. During the height of the offshore and onshore construction boom in the late 1970s and early 1980s, over $8.1 billion in approved Title XI transactions were in force covering hundreds of ships, barges, lighters, tugs, supply boats and mobile offshore drilling units. The building fervor came to a screeching halt in the mid-1980s when the market collapsed.

Private lending institutions and the Maritime Administration's (MarAd) Title XI program experienced extensive defaults. In the late 1980s and early 1990s there was a lull in Title XI financing with very few transactions. As of 1992, no new Title XI applications were approved, and the total amount of Title XI guarantees outstanding had dropped to approximately $2.3 billion.

With the changing of the world's geopolitical face, emerging markets fueled new opportunities. The world's fleet aged and the need to supply energy, raw materials and goods produced new demand. On November 30, 1993, the National Shipbuilding and Shipyard Conversion Act of 1993 was enacted. This expanded the Title XI program to include vessels built in the U.S. for foreign ownership and flag and authorized Title XI guarantees for shipyard modernization and improvement.

From 1994 to the present, Title XI projects have totaled in excess of $2.7 billion. Projects have included a self-elevating mobile offshore drilling unit for the Rowan Companies costing $174.9 million of which $153.1 million or 87.5 percent was financed through Title XI; and a recent $110.7 million semi-submersible mobile offshore drilling unit for Noble Drilling Corporation of which $96.8 million was financed by Title XI.

Approved Title XI transactions have covered a wide array of vessels including: anchor handling/supply vessels, articulated tug and barge units, double skin tank barges, tractor tugs, lift boats, double hull product tankers and chemical carriers.

The resurgence of the offshore industry and an increased thirst for energy demand - especially in Asia - have resulted in a revitalized industry, which is reflected in the Title XI orderbook. As a result of increased offshore oil rig utilization and increased rates, new rig construction is once again under consideration. Despite the current lull brought on by the crisis in Asia, the long-term forecast is for continued growth and demand.

Vessel Eligibility The types of vessels eligible for Title XI guarantees include passenger, cargo and combination passenger-cargo carrying vessels, tankers, towboats, barges (including offshore drilling units) and dredges.

 
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