Lack of Shuttle Tankers: Problem for GOM?

Tuesday, March 26, 2002
Shuttle tankers meeting rigorous federal safety and environmental standards will be ready to begin transporting crude oil to U.S. ports whenever the first Floating Production, Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessel is deployed in the Gulf of Mexico, Houston-based American Shuttle Tankers L.L.C. (AST) said today. "In the weeks since the Minerals Management Service (MMS) approved the use of FPSOs in the Gulf of Mexico, companies evaluating development options for deepwater oil discoveries in the U.S. Gulf have been encouraged to move FPSOs and FSOs higher on their lists of potential field development solutions", said Oyvind Jordanger, president of AST. American Shuttle Tankers, which was formed last year by the top crude oil lightering company in the Gulf of Mexico and the leading shuttle tanker service provider in the North Sea, intends to become the preferred shuttle tanker company in the U.S. Gulf Coast. Jordanger said AST plans to build a fleet of shuttle tankers specially designed to meet the stringent design requirements of vessels authorized to operate in U.S. waters and in compliance with U.S. Coast Guard requirements. AST shuttle tankers will be built in U.S. shipyards and manned by U.S. crews. In addition, AST will draw on the technical and operating expertise of both of its owners to provide safe, reliable, flexible and cost-effective shuttle tankering services to operators of oil fields in the U.S. Gulf, especially the more remote and ultra-deepwater areas where conventional pipelines become difficult and expensive. "The decision to allow FPSOs in the Gulf of Mexico is a positive step for both producers and consumers because it will give operators the flexibility to include this solution in their range of tools to develop a given prospect" Jordanger added. "We¹re ready to move whenever a company opts to proceed with an FPSO or FSO-based field development plan. But we understand it could be a year or more, so we¹re in it for the long haul." American Shuttle Tankers L.L.C. is owned 50/50 by Skaugen PetroTrans Inc. of Houston, Texas, and Navion A.S.A. of Stavanger, Norway. The parent companies of both Navion and Skaugen are listed on the Oslo stock exchange under the symbols STL and SKG.

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