Chouest rolls out major expansion plans

Chouest c-roverJULY 9, 2013 —The Edison Chouest Offshore (ECO) family of companies plans to enlarge its sizeable fleet and expand its terminal facilities.

Chouest PSV at work in the Gulf of Mexico

"Reacting to customer demands, ECO continues to lead the industry by designing, building and operating new generation vessels featuring the latest available technology," said ECO President Gary Chouest. "We are a customer-centric company: Our main goal is to support their activities with state-of-the-art vessels, expanded terminal facilities, subsea services, fully-integrated logistics, and shorebase support wherever necessary."

The Chouest newbuild order now book contains over 40 vessels, the vast majority will be constructed at its four U.S.-affiliate shipyards: North American Shipbuilding (Larose, LA), LaShip (Houma, LA), Gulf Ship (Gulfport, MS) and Tampa Ship (Tampa, FL) and at its Brazilian shipyard, Navship.

INNOVATIVE NEW 312 FT PSV CLASS

ECO's worldwide fleet now approaches 250 highly specialized offshore service and support vessels. The largest portion of the newbuild program contains 17 vessels, with options for an additional 20, in a new class of 312 ft x 66 ft x 26 ft new generation, clean design, diesel-electric platform supply vessels (PSV).

This class features a new hull form that was designed to maximize deadweight while significantly reducing hydrodynamic resistance, thereby improving fuel efficiency. The result is a vessel that offers a deadweight tonnage in excess of 6,000 LT, the capacity for over 22,000 barrels of liquid mud, over 2,000 barrels of methanol, and 14,450 cu. feet of dry bulk. Carrying the new class designation of NA312E CD VE (Very Efficient), these vessels offer a cargo delivered to fuel used ratio that is significantly better than other PSVs operating in the Gulf of Mexico.

The vessels provide accommodations for 51 and have class notations for firefighting, dynamic positioning, unmanned engine room operation, special purpose ship safety, workboat habitability, and storage and discharge of recovered oil. The vessels also comply with the new International Labor Organization (ILO) standards for vessel design and crew standards.

"ECO owns and operates the largest fleet of new generation, high deadweight capacity PSVs in the global offshore service vessel industry. The new series of 312 ft PSVs under construction represents an evolution of ECO's proven proprietary hull designs," said ECO's Executive Vice President Dino Chouest. "The 312 ft class meets 100 percent of ECO's customers' requirements for a high deadweight ton capacity, deepwater PSV that is extremely fuel efficient."

NEW VESSELS INCLUDE ICE CLASS, MPSV, SUBSEA, WELL STIM

The Chouest shipbuilding program also includes two new high ice class AHTS vessels for Arctic service, currently being designed. The vessels will mark the fifth and sixth icebreaking vessels in the ECO fleet, making Chouest the largest designer, builder, owner and operator of icebreaking vessels in the U.S. industry.

Chouest will also build four subsea construction vessels, slated for service in the Gulf of Mexico market. Features include ROVs from Chouest affiliate C-Innovation, as well as a 400 MT AHC deepwater crane.

Additional newbuilds include:

  • one 314 ft, 1.5 million-gallon refueling vessel
  • one 318 ft multi-purpose construction supply vessel (MPSV), with 150- metric ton motion compensated deck crane,
  • one 318 ft diesel electric well stimulation vessel
  • five 303 ft diesel electric 5,150-metric ton deadweight Brazilian PSVs
  • two 316 ft 26,000 HP hybrid propulsion Brazilian-built AHTS with 300-metric ton bollard pull
  • five 304 ft clean design, 5,500-deadweight ton Polish-built PSVs
  • five 201 ft DP-2 fast supply vessels
  • two 194 ft DP-2 fast supply vessels

PORT EXPANSION

Chouest affiliate C-Port, located in the central Gulf of Mexico port of Fourchon, revolutionized vessel services and material movement on its opening in 1996. Additional Chouest terminal affiliate and support companies in Fourchon have joined its ranks since, including C-Port 2, Martin Terminal, Clean Tank, Fourchon Heavy Lift, C-Logistics and C-Terminal.

Currently, 93 percent of all Gulf of Mexico drilling rigs operate out of Port Fourchon, with 85 percent being serviced by one of the Chouest port locations.

Chouest affiliate C-Port 3 is currently under construction and slated to feature an additional six covered slips to transfer cargo and provide support to deepwater offshore support vessels. The multi-service terminal is slated to be operational by March 2014. In addition, the design process has begun for C-Port 4 in Fourchon, which could contain as many as nine additional covered slips, reinforcing ECO's role as the preeminent terminal support provider in the deepwater Gulf.

The Chouest purchase this year of the C-Terminal facility in Port Fourchon, featuring 2,000 linear feet of bulkheaded waterfront property, provided another innovative loading and storage solution for Chouest customers. The company has announced plans to expand the C-Terminal worksite, adding to its expansive outside storage area, warehouses, bulk, cement and barite plants, and fuel, water, mud and drilling fluid sales.

The Port Fourchon facilities are not the only terminal sites where Chouest has expansion in mind. Chouest says its workable solutions to minimizing port turnaround time have now targeted Brazil. Design is well underway for a major port development to support the company's large vessel fleet in that country.

Want more? Subscribe now!

News from NASDAQ