Marine Log

December 1, 2006

Heerema plans $1 billion crane vessel

Heerema Marine Contractors (HMC) plans to invest $1 billion in the construction of a new crane vessel.

Heerema Marine Contractors, based in Leiden, The Netherlands, is a leading offshore construction contractor. Its fleet currently consists of three crane vessels (Thialf, Hermod and Balder).

The lift capacity of the new vessel has yet to be determined, but HMC says it "will at least be comparable to the capacity of the Thialf--the largest crane vessel in the world, with a dual crane lift capacity of 14,200 tons.

The strategy of Heerema Marine Contractors is focused on full field development in the international oil and gas industry, including possible future development in the Arctic.

"Heerema Marine Contractors is known for its strong and successful position as offshore construction contractor. A new generation, deepwater construction vessel is needed to meet the demands of the national and international oil companies. Market developments and needs from customers, as well as our current market position are strong drivers behind the decision to proceed with the design of a new vessel, explains John Reed, the Chief Executive Officer.

The design of the vessel will begin immediately and will be fast tracked. A tender to select the best shipbuilding yard, which will likely be in Korea or China, will take place in the near future.

HMC says the size of the vessel will be approximately 220 m x 88 m new vessel and that it will be "exceptional in various aspects: speed, hull shape, pipe lay features in deepwater and shallow water, crane possibilities and capabilities to work in the Arctic."

The $1 billion investment in the vessel will be financed from internally generated funds, augmented by traditional bank financing and private equity.