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Port Security Conference

May 7, 2003

Class approval in principal for CNG carrier
EnerSea Transport LLC, in association with its maritime partners, Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha, Ltd. (“K”Line) and Hyundai Heavy Industries Co., Ltd. (HHI), says that its VOTRANS gas carrier has achieved “Class Approval in Principle” (AIP) from ABS (American Bureau of Shipping). 

This marks a major milestone in the companies’ ability to deliver compressed natural gas (CNG) through the world’s first commercial large scale marine gas transport system of its kind.

“Class Approval in Principle is further independent validation of VOTRANS’ solid engineering foundation and allows us to launch our industry-leading CNG capabilities,” said EnerSea’s Managing Director Paul Britton.

EnerSea says that getting the approval allows it to commence commercial deployment of its VOTRANS gas transport services to industry at a time when current and projected gas supplies in the world’s major energy-consuming countries are approaching critical shortfalls.  With U.S. natural gas demand projected to reach 32 trillion cubic feet by 2020, industry and government alike are seeking innovative solutions. 

“Undeveloped gas resources in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico, Atlantic Canada, Alaska, Trinidad, Venezuela and Colombia are all ideal prospects for helping meet U.S. gas demand using EnerSea’s transport services,” explained Britton.  EnerSea’s plans for deployment will enable gas operators to begin shipping these new volumes in early 2007. 

EnerSea and its partners recently concluded a comprehensive engineering program that started in June 2002 and culminated with the AIP award for its “V800” class vessel design.

The V800 is designed to carry 700 to 800 million cubic feet (mmcf) of natural gas, depending on the specific gas composition.  EnerSea intends to use this vessel to support economic gas transportation services for applications with average supply rates ranging from 300 to 500 mmcf per day to markets up to 2,500 miles away.

EnerSea also offers V600 and V1000 vessel classes that will enable the company to support production rates ranging from 150 to 700 mmcf per day over distances up to 3,000 miles.

The ability to safely and efficiently operate and manage gas fleets is of paramount importance to EnerSea.  “K”Line joined EnerSea’s maritime partnership to support the engineering program and to develop vessel operations procedures.  “K”Line will own and operate the initial VOTRANS vessels by way of dedicated time charter agreements.

“I am delighted at the considerable progress and robust results that have been achieved in this truly unique endeavor,” said “K”Line’s Director, Hisashi Yasui.  “We see enormous potential for working with EnerSea to become the world’s leader in compressed natural gas transportation, which promises to be a major feature of “K”Line’s wide-ranging gas shipping services.”

The VOTRANS ship design was a collaborative effort, with HHI contributing its significant ship design and construction expertise. 

“As an active member of the VOTRANS design team over the past year, we are very pleased to receive Approval in Principle,” said I.Y. Chung, HHI's Chief Operation Officer, Marketing Division.  “We look forward to building the world’s first commercial CNG vessel with many more to follow for EnerSea’s transport service.”

VOTRANS utilizes EnerSea’s patented and proprietary technology that delivers a substantially more flexible and cost effective CNG transport system than has been previously possible.  With design storage pressures of well under 2000 psi, about half that of other CNG technologies, EnerSea’s team was able to dramatically reduce the thickness and weight of the steel required for the containment system, thus increasing storage efficiency and reducing overall cost.

VOTRANS is designed to land natural gas via cost-effective offshore gas ports, thus eliminating the need for expensive new onshore gas terminals which are more difficult to permit and build.  The recently enacted “Maritime Transport Security Act of 2002” promotes  the delivery of CNG through offshore gas ports, and will provide for safe and secure delivery of natural gas supplies into the U.S.

Other key participants in EnerSea’s engineering program included Paragon Engineering and A.C. McClure Naval Architects, both of which have been involved from the beginning in EnerSea’s VOTRANS development.

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