December 7, 2000

Chouest announces aggressive newbuilding plan
Edison Chouest Offshore (ECO),Galliano, LA, has announced plans to continue its newbuilding program, which has already produced over fifty new generation offshore vessels servicing the deepwater oil and gas industry.

Chouest has committed to an aggressive new program, which will produce a number of new generation vessels over the next few years--including the world's largest anchor handling vessel. The program also includes six 260 ft. new generation deepwater supply vessels, two 165 ft. fast supply vessels, as well as the conversion of an existing vessel into the largest offshore supply vessel in the U.S. market,

ECO's affiliated shipyards in south Louisiana, North American Shipbuilding in Larose and North American Fabricators in Houma, will not only perform all construction work on the various newbuild projects, but will also perform modifications on several Chouest seismic vessels being converted to offshore supply vessels.

The reasons for the aggressive newbuilding program are quite simple, according to ECO's Vice President of Business Development, Roger White.

"We have a reputation of providing tomorrow's equipment today, and once again Chouest is leading the industry in servicing our deepwater customers," noted White. "These additional new vessels, along with the conversions, are all designed to service our customers' requirements."

ECO's affiliated shipyards have already begun construction on the first four of six 260 ft. new generation deepwater supply vessels, the first to be delivered within the next few months. Delivery is also expected during calendar year 2001 on the two additional 165 ft. fast supply vessels.

North American Shipbuilding is preparing to convert the MARGARET B. CHOUEST, currently the largest vessel in the Chouest fleet at 320 ft., to the largest offshore supply vessel in the U.S. market. The vessel was constructed in 1995 as a container cargo vessel, and has recently returned from its service requirements with the U.S. Navy.

The impressive vessel has approximately 5,000 tons of deadweight capacity, and will be modified to carry 12,000 barrels of liquid mud as a dynamically positioned class 2 (DP2) offshore service vessel (OSV). The vessel is capable of maintaining 17 knots speed in a sea state 3 fully ladened.

The recordbreaking newbuild in the Chouest program will be the construction of a 347 ft. long by 72 ft. beam vessel with a deadweight of 6,500 tons-the largest anchor handling vessel in the world. The vessel will be equipped with the largest winch system ever installed on an anchor handling vessel, producing a 600 ton pull. A bollard pull of 360 tons is anticipated from the vessel whose installed power rating will be 30,000 horsepower and capable of operating in depths of up to 12,000 feet.

"Even prior to these newbuilds, Chouest already owns and operates one of the youngest fleets in the industry," remarked White. "It is our intention to continue to add vessels to service the increased requirements of our offshore customers, and to support our logistics business (C-Logistics located in Port Fourchon, Louisiana, services the Gulf of Mexico.)

"With the success of C-Port, Chouest's unique multi-services terminal facility at Port Fourchon, came the vision to provide a total logistics integrated solution, one in which Chouest could provide marine and terminal services, materials control, warehousing and other vital services to its deepwater customers. C-Logistics was created to provide an outsourced third-party logistics service.

"C-Logistics is positioning itself to use deepwater assets to provide services to the shelf industry with greater efficiency, reliability and cost-savings," said White.

"With C-Logistics having already divided the Gulf of Mexico region into transportation and service corridors, there is no reason why the larger, new-generation supply vessels designed to service the deepwater installations, could not also service the shelf installations within that corridor.

"C-Logistics will use these new generation deepwater vessels to not only service the variety of deepwater offshore rigs, but will also offer alternative services to installations on the shelf," noted White.

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