Monday, September 18, 2000

NASSCO gets $630 million BP tanker contract

General Dynamics wholly owned subsidiary, National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (NASSCO), has received a $630 million contract from BP for the construction of three double-hull tankers for the carriage of crude oil from Valdez, Alaska, to U.S. West Coast ports. The contract includes options for three additional vessels.

The 185,000 dwt double-hull design will have a length of 287 meters (941 feet), and a beam of 50 meters (164 feet). Capacity will be approximately 1.3 million barrels at a design draft of 18.75 meters (61.5 feet).

Design work is underway and construction of the 1.3 million-barrel- capacity tankers will begin in early 2002. NASSCO is scheduled to deliver the first ship in late 2003 with subsequent ships being delivered in 2004 and 2005. BP will complete conversion of its Alaska fleet to double hulls in 2006.

"These ships have been designed for exceptional environmental performance and cost effective transportation of North Slope oil to market," said Anne Drinkwater, BP's business unit leader for Alaska Pipelines & Marine.

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 state-of-the-art machinery and cargo control systems and an integrated navigation system.

The three-ship order, with options for additional tankers, will be matched to BP's Alaska production plans.

"We see a long future on the North Slope," Drinkwater said. "We expect our net Alaska production to stay at or above the current level for another decade." BP has net Alaska production of 300,000 barrels per day.

The "Alaska Class" design will allow maximum flexibility for oil deliveries to West Coast ports, including BP refineries in Los Angeles and Cherry Point, WA.

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, OR, which was formed in 1999. The Alaska Tanker Company operates BP chartered tankers used in the Alaska North Slope trade.

BP operates 12 Alaska oil fields with gross production of approximately 800,000 barrels of oil per day. BP is also the leading gasoline retailer in the five western states of Washington, Oregon, California, Arizona and Nevada. The company has more than 1,700 ARCO retail outlets.


  • Design life 35 to 50 years
  • Capacity 1.3 million barrels
  • Deadweight 185,000 MT
  • Length 287 m
  • Breadth 50 m
  • Maximum Draft 18.75 m
  • Tanks 18 cargo tanks (3 x 6)
  • Steering 2 high efficiency rudders with
  • separated steering gear rooms
  • Propulsion Twin-propeller, integrated diesel
  • electric system consisting of four
  • 6.3-megawatt generators and two
  • 10-megawatt propulsion motors in
  • independent engine rooms.
  • Speed 15.3 knots

"NASSCO has a long, successful history of building commercial tankers, and we are extremely pleased to have been awarded this construction contract for Jones Act-qualified ships from one of the world's leading oil producers," said NASSCO President Richard Vortmann. "It reflects NASSCO's growing reputation for producing technically creative, cost-effective designs for both Navy and commercial customers. It also is a great tribute to the exceptional gains in quality and productivity our employees have made in recent years."

NASSCO is currently building two commercial roll-on/roll-off vessels and a series of strategic sealift ships for the U.S. Navy. The shipyard employs approximately 3,000 people at its San Diego facilities.

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