The ground swell is well underway. For the past few months the undeniable signs of another boom period in the offshore oil and gas business are all around the Louisiana bayous.
Personally, I follow the rig count, day rates and how fast drill pipe moves from certain outdoor staging areas onto trucks heading for Port Fourchon, Intercoastal City and other "jumping off" points to the Gulf of Mexico.
Another way to keep abreast of what is happening in the offshore market is to talk to major equipment suppliers like Frank L. Beier Radio of Belle Chasse, La. They typically have contracts in hand before the first piece of steel is welded at the shipyard. "Things are popping," said Karl Beier president of the company. "The boat operators are finally committing to new vessels, now that they see the market is expanding,"
Most of the efficient drilling equipment available is now under contract to oil companies or contract drillers.
"There is not a shortage of rigs, but I would say that there is full utilization," said Al Petrie, president of Al Petrie Media and Investor Relations LLC, New Orleans. "Rates on some drilling rigs area as high as they have even been,"
ODS-Petrodata, a Houston based research firm seems to agree. According their data, a rig operating in 3,000 ft. of water averaged $135,000 per day in April 2004. By April 2005, the rate had risen 63 percent to $220,000 a day.
Drilling is no less active on the shelf, in waters 300 ft. deep. "The government's initiative to offer royalty relief to lease holders to drill deeper wells on existing leases appears to be generating additional drilling and therefore more business for us," said Wes Bordelon, president of Bordelon Marine.
Bordelon describes his company as a "shelf company" one that specializes in offshore service generally in water less than 300 feet deep. Established in 1979, the company owns three 110-ft. utility vessels, leases two more like vessels and owns three 150-ft. supply boats.
The smaller vessels offer dive support as well as oceanographic and production work. The big news from Bordelon Marine is that they will take delivery of two 163-ft. vessels in September and October.
"The services we could offer our customers took a big leap forward in 2001 with the delivery of the Wes Bordelon, Terry Bordelon and the Bunny Bordelon," Bordelon added. "The vessels are very versatile and have exceeded our expectations, and more importantly met our customers' expectations," Bordelon said.
The company expects the new 163-ft. vessels to be equally well received. "We built the three 150-ft. vessels at Bollinger Shipyards and based on the success of these vessels we are having Bollinger built the two 163-ft. boats," Bordelon said.
Bordelon says the extra 13-ft. length of the new supply vessels translates directly in more cargo capacity above deck and more tankage below deck for drilling liquids.
Another difference in the vessels is technology. "The new boats will be classed DP-1 and will have advanced alarm and tank monitoring systems for safer, more efficient operation," Bordelon said.
The DP-1 system is the IVC2000 series from Frank L. Beier Radio with
controls at two stations. Beier also sold the electric over hydraulic steering controls, engine controls, Series 2000 monitoring and alarm system and even the rams and tanks for the hydraulic steering. "We are offering a complete package of electronics for these vessels and the ancillary equipment that goes with it," Beier said.
Another part of the Beier package was the pilothouse electronics by Furuno including two color radars, a color plotter, an autopilot, VHS, Necoder and sounder.
One thing that did not change between the 150-ft. series and the 163-ft. series is the main propulsion system. A pair of Cummins (CMI)
KTA-38MO rated at 750 hp each will power the new vessels with Twin Disc reverse/reduction gears. A 350 hp bow thruster powered by a Cummins NT-855 aids in the maneuverability of the vessels and a pair of Cummins 6BT engines each supply 99 kW of ship's power.
"The new vessels can carry more cargo and fluids, yet use the same power plant so we know there are some built-in efficiencies."
The 163-ft. vessels have a 36-ft. beam and a clear deck area of 115-ft. by 32-ft. Tankages are impressive for these vessels including 57,200 gallons of fuel, 64,200 gallons of methanol and 1,200 barrels of liquid mud.
Bordelon decided to include methanol tanks on the two new vessels. "We are finding increased demand for methanol even for shallow water wells, so we are setting up these vessels to carry it," Bordelon added. "Methanol tanks make sense because we can use these tanks for other liquids, but there is no way to carry methanol in tanks not designed for the product," Bordelon added.
Bordelon Marine utilizes a crew of five on their vessels and can carry 13 passengers. Speed is anticipated to be 12 knots. A Crane Deming fire pump and a Stang 1,200 GPM fire monitor are also onboard.
Classification/certification of the two vessels is USCG Coast Guard Subchapter L, ABS Load line and ABS OSV.
The first of the vessels will be christened on September 17. It will be named the Sarah Bordelon, wife of Wes Bordelon. The second vessel will be named the Marcelle Bordelon and will join the fleet at the end of October.
Before the end of 2005, Bordelon Marine will
have grown from a three-vessel company at the start of this decade to one that operates 10 vessels. While growing rapidly, Bordelon expects to remain a small family company dedicated to their customers and employees. "Our customers expect a high level of professionalism and service from us and that will not change," Bordelon said. "Likewise our employees expect to work with state of the art equipment and to feel they are a part of an organization that is receptive to their needs I am dedicated to that as well."