BP has placed an order for a fourth double-hull oil tanker for use in delivering Alaska North Slope crude oil to refineries on the west coast. BP placed orders for three tankers in September 2000.
Construction of the 1.3-million-barrel-capacity tankers will begin in early 2002. National Steel and Shipbuilding Co. (NASSCO) of San Diego is scheduled to deliver the first ship in late 2003 with subsequent ships being delivered in 2004, 2005 and 2006. BP will complete conversion of its Alaska fleet to double hulls in 2006.
The four-ship order, with options for two additional tankers, has been matched to BP?s Alaskan production plans for the next decade.
In addition to double hulls, BP?s new Alaska Class tankers will be built with redundant propulsion and steering systems which include twin diesel-electric power systems in segregated engine rooms, twin propellers and twin rudders. Use of diesel-electric propulsion systems will also reduce air emissions at sea and in port while reducing maintenance down time. To eliminate accidental oil leaks, the propeller shafts will be cooled and lubricated with seawater instead of lubricating oil. Cargo piping will be installed in the cargo tanks, instead of on deck, to reduce the risk of small spills. The ships will be fitted with innovative machinery and cargo control systems and an integrated navigation system.
The Alaska Class design will allow maximum flexibility for oil deliveries to west coast ports
, including BP refineries in Los Angeles and Cherry Point, Wash.
The new build project will keep an estimated 1,000 NASSCO workers employed over the life of the contract. Design development and construction will be supervised by BP Shipping Limited. The ships will be operated by Alaska Tanker Co. of Portland, Ore. The Alaska Tanker Company operates BP chartered tankers used in the Alaska North Slope trade.