Conoco Cuts Steel on Innovative Towboats

Tuesday, June 18, 2002
Conoco is building four new towboats that purportedly offer innovations in safety, environmental interaction, as well as design improvements that Conoco claims will set new standards for the inland towing industry. "We are raising the bar for towboat design, machinery and marine systems by constructing American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) class boats," said Karen Stacey, director of Conoco domestic marine. "The four new boats will have double-hulled fuel tanks to reinforce safety and environmental protection." Conoco's inland marine fleet of seven towboats and 14 barges made more than 600 voyages last year, hauling more than 21 million barrels of crude oil and refined products "The four new generation boats will replace older assets to enhance our productivity and reinforce our commitment to respecting the environment," said Rick Oshlo, Conoco vice president and general manager, supply and trading, materials and services The new vessels, being built by Orange Shipbuilding of Orange, Texas, will have safety enhancements such as CO2 extinguishing systems, fuel shutdowns, fire detection systems and fire fighting systems. Environmental upgrades will include main propulsion engines that are compliant with the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) emissions standards. "In addition to fewer air emissions, the new engines will reduce fuel consumption and lube oil consumption by as much as 10 percent," said Antonio Valdes, manager of Conoco marine. "They also will use a next generation, five-blade propeller that is 50 percent more efficient at reducing hull vibration than a conventional four-blade propeller. This will make for a much smoother ride." In addition to the four new towboats, Conoco domestic marine plans construction of two new, double-hulled barges. The 17,000-barrel barges will replace two 10,000-barrel barges in the company's fleet.

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