Friday, April 28 2000


Crewboat "Charles F McCall" joins sister "Sara"
The 170-foot Seacor/McCall crew boat "Charles F McCall" will be commissioned in June. Joining its sister the "Sara F McCall, delivered in November 1999, the Charles will in turn be joined by a third boat to the same design in November 2000. All three boats are built at Neuville Boat Works, Inc. in Loreauville Louisiana.

Already on charter in Mexico, the "Sara" is meeting a demand for big fast crewboats with five Cummins KTA38M2 diesel engines each rated at 1,350 hp with Twin Disc MG6650 2.47:1 gears driving through 4.5-inch by 27-foot shafts to five 46/42-inch Nibral propellers for a light condition speed of 25 knots.

The "Charles" will have the same power package but with more pitch in the props at 46x45-inches anticipated to achieve speeds of 26 knots. To minimize drag the big boats have only two faired 27x42-inch stainless steel rudders. The boats are maneuvered and hold position under the oil rigs through dextrous working of the multiple props and with the aid of a 300 hp Cummins C-series engined hydraulic-driven Thrustmaster 250 hp 36-inch azimuthing bow thruster that can be raised back into the hull when not in use. A segment of the hull is mounted to the bottom of the thruster nozzle in such a manner that the hull is entirely fair when the thruster is retracted.

On the aft deck, two Fritz Culver stern line quick release units, that double as aft stern bitts, have been installed.

The vessel will be classed as ABS A-1, HSC and dual certification by the USCG as a "T" and "L" vessel. As a "T" boat, the vessel will be able to carry 78 passengers, 42 in special custom automotive type seats each with personal entertainment console. The remaining 36 will be in lounge type seating with adjoining tables. As an "L" boat, the vessel is designated to carry, on the aft main deck, two 1,000 cubic foot bulk mud tanks or, alternatively, one 1,200 cu.ft and one 1,000 cu.ft tank with the Cummins 855-powered compressor located below deck in the aft machinery space. Additionally,

in either "T" or "L" configuration, the 6,750 hp vessel can carry 26,400 gallons of diesel in addition to 52,800 gallons of rig water or a maximum of 363 long tons of deck cargo. Along with the main deck passenger area, the vessel has sleeping and messing accommodations for eight crew members below deck.


Sun Microsystems chosen for key Gold Team DD-21 element
Raytheon Company has selected Sun Microsystems Inc. to participate in the engineering effort to design, build and support the total ship computing architecture (TSCA) for the U.S. Navy's 21st Century Land Attack Destroyer -- the DD-21

The DD 21 TSCA is the ship-wide, all-source information processing and management system supporting all operational functions of the ship. It is also the key contributor to network centric warfare, assuring knowledge superiority and the execution of accurate measured force response. In addition, TSCA will contribute to reducing the crew's workload.

Raytheon, Litton Ingalls Shipbuilding, and Boeing are the principal members of the DD-21 Gold Team, which is now under contract to develop and deliver a preliminary system design to the Navy. The team is competing to be selected to be the full service contractor to build the lead ship of this new class of vessels for the Navy.

"Our priority is to enable the sailor to manage the ship and fight to win, and use TSCA to enhance the quality of life for personnel while they are on board," said Jack Cronin, vice president of Raytheon's DD-21 campaign. "We're confident that we will design a system which meets the vision for the future, with the lowest life cycle cost, by using an evolutionary migration of legacy systems and open-systems computing."

While the TSCA will be based on open-systems software architecture, the development process, integration, testing, certification and delivery will exploit use of commercial items and reuse of legacy software where appropriate. An effective system of metrics also will be used to assess the maturity of software development.

Design of the DD-21 TSCA will benefit from Sun Microsystems' expertise in a variety of information technologies, including processors, operating environments, servers, and displays. The core architectural elements in the TSCA will provide an infrastructure that will allow self-healing and adaptability, with high availability of computer resources throughout the network. In addition, Sun Professional Services will participate in the development of a prototype of the TSCA infrastructure software to validate key aspects of the DD-21 design.

Phase I of the DD-21 program -- development of competing concept designs by separate Blue and Gold teams -- began in 1998. Phase II follows with a system concept design competition, which will culminate in Blue and Gold team proposals being submitted in December, 2000. This will be followed by a down-select in mid 2001 to one full service contractor team to perform final system/subsystem design. The lead ship is scheduled to be delivered in FY 2008.


 

PGS revenues increase
Petroleum Geo-Services ASA reports improved 2000 first quarter earnings, reflecting higher revenue from multi-client sales and the production
services group as compared to the same period of 1999.

The company's 2000 first quarter revenue of $212.7 million represents a 43% increase over the same period of the previous year. First quarter operating profit was $27.1 million, representing a 13% operating profit margin. Net income for the first quarter of 2000 was $6.7 million, an increase of $5.2 million over net income (before unusual items and accounting change) for the 1999 first quarter.

Reidar Michaelsen, chairman of the board and CEO, said the first quarter results "reflect the slowly improving climate for oilfield services and geophysical
services in particular. With North Sea Brent crude oil prices settling into a range of $20 to $25 per barrel and based upon customer inquiries, we expect to see renewed demand for seismic data and a revived seismic contract market starting in the third quarter of 2000. Our production services operations continue to improve, particularly with the resolution of many of the operational problems that effected the Ramform Banff FPSO during the 1999 fourth quarter and the early part of 2000. Additionally, the completion of the Norwegian 16th licensing round, which covered many blocks where we have multi-client seismic data, should result in continued improvement in our geophysical results.''


Trico Marine reports more losses
Trico Marine Services, Inc. reports a net loss for the quarter ended March 31, 2000, of $9.1 million on revenues of $26.4 million, compared to a net loss of $7.3 million on revenues of $28.3 million for the first quarter of 1999.

The company says the decrease in revenues for the first quarter of 2000 resulted principally from lower average day rates for its Gulf of Mexico supply boats and North Sea fleet, compared to the first quarter 1999. Supply boat day rates in the Gulf of Mexico averaged $3,347 for the quarter, compared to $3,662 for the first quarter 1999, but increased from $3,250 for the fourth quarter 1999. Average day rates for the North Sea fleet decreased to $8,650 for the most recent quarter, compared to $11,451 for the first quarter 1999 and $8,761 for the fourth quarter 1999.

The utilization rate for Gulf of Mexico supply boats increased to 70% for the first quarter 2000, compared to 56% for the year-ago period, and 67% for the fourth quarter 1999, due to improved market conditions in the Gulf and reduced vessel downtime for dry-docking and vessel refurbishment. The utilization rates for both periods include the impact of the deactivation, or stacking, of 10 supply boats. Utilization of the North Sea vessels decreased to 73% in the most recent quarter, compared to 87% in the first quarter 1999 and 74% for the fourth quarter 1999. During the 2000 first quarter, the Company dry-docked five of its North Sea vessels. Two of those vessels were dry-docked prior to being mobilized to other international areas.

"The biggest factor affecting our first quarter results was the weakness in the North Sea in January and February, which carried over from the fourth quarter,'' said president and CEO Thomas E. Fairley, "While most of our North Sea vessels are under long-term contracts, we experienced low utilization and day rates for our
large anchor handling towing supply vessels working in the spot market. Some of this softness was due to weather and seasonal factors. We are encouraged, however, by the improvement in North Sea day rates and utilization that we began to see in early March.''


Development of Norway's Kvitebjørn and Grane fields
In an effort to boost employment, the Norwegian Government proposes to develop the North Sea Kvitebjørn and Grane fields.

"The development of these fields will be important for the employment in the supply industry," says Minister of Petroleum and Energy, Olav Akselsen, "and according to the companies [will] lead to employment of about 15,000 man-labor years. "

Kvitebjørn is a small field in the northern part of the North Sea, containing gas and condensate. The licensees are Statoil (operator), Hydro and Elf. The proven reserves in the field include 47 bill scm dry gas, 17 mill scm condensate and natural gasoline in addition to smaller quantities of LPG.

The field will be developed with an integrated production platform containing a drilling module, living quarters and a processing module. The gas will be transported through a new pipeline to the gas terminal at Kollsnes for further processing. The condensate will be transported through a new pipeline (Kvitebjørn Oil Pipe) which will be connected to the Troll Oil Pipe 2 for further transport to Mongstad. Kvitebjørn will be given responsibility for supply of gas under gas sales commitments entered into by the GFU.

Production from Kvitebjørn is planned to come on stream in 2004, and the production plateau level will be 6 bill scm a year. Total investments related to the project are estimated at 8.7 billion NOK

Grane is a large oil discovery, located approximately 160 km west from Stavanger. The licensees are Hydro (operator), Statoil and Esso. The field contains 112 mill scm oil and will be developed with an integrated platform based on the sea bed. The platform will contain a drilling module, living quarters and processing module. The oil will be transported through a new pipeline towards the terminal at Sture. Gas will be used to increase the oil production. As the Grane field contains only small quantities of gas, gas will be imported from other fields through a new pipeline from the Heimdal field. The production from Grane will ,according to plan, come on stream in 2003 and will within 2005 reach a production level of more than 200,000 barrels a day.

Total investments related to Grane are estimated at 15 billion NOK,.


NOL subsidiary orders VLCC's
Singapore's NOL Group today announced that its wholly owned subsidiary, American Eagle Tankers Inc. (AET), has contracted two double hulled 318,000 dwt very large crude carriers (VLCCs) from South Korea's Hyundai Heavy Industries of South Korea. Delivery is slated for 2002, when the new tankers will join AET's current tanker fleet of 18 modern Aframax tankers.

The average age of the Group-owned Aframax tanker fleet is about 4 years, much lower than the industry average of 12 years.

The VLCCs will be LR classed, fly the Singapore flag and will have an overall length of 333 m and a beam of 60 m.


Norway ups budget request for Bazan frigates
The Norwegian Government has presented a proposal to Parliament that recommends an augmented allocation for the New Frigates Project. The
increased allocation adds in project realization costs, increased currency estimations and an upward adjustment due to the general level of inflation since
February 1999.

The Government is asking for an increase in the financial frame from 12,240 billion 1999 NOK to 14,066 billion 2000 NOK. Once Parliament has signed off on the proposal, the Government will be in a position to sign a contract with Spain's Empreza Nacional Bazan.

 

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