BP has placed an order the three state-of-the-art double-hull oil tankers for the Alaska trade, with an option for three more vessels, the company said Sept. 15.
The company said delivery of the vessels will satisfy the commitment BP made as part of an agreement with the state of Alaska to accelerate -- by an average of one year -- the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 retirement dates of the non-double hull vessels in BP's chartered Alaska fleet.
The contract for the three 1.3 million-barrel-capacity vessels is in excess of $630 million, and BP Exploration (Alaska) Inc. said design work is under way with construction scheduled to begin in early 2002.
The tankers will be built by National Steel and Shipbuilding Co. of San Diego, which is scheduled to deliver the tankers in 2003, 2004 and 2005.
BP said it 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," Anne Drinkwater, business unit leader for Alaska Pipelines & Marine, said in a statement.
In addition to double hulls, the company said the 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. BP said the diesel electric propulsion systems will reduce air emissions at sea and in port and also reduce maintenance downtime. Propeller shafts will be cooled and lubricated with seawater instead of lubricating oil, BP said, eliminating a possible source of accidental oil leaks. To reduce the risk of small spills, cargo piping will be installed in the cargo tanks instead of on deck. The ships will be fitted with state-of-the-art machinery and cargo control systems and an integrated navigation system.
BP said 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's net Alaska production is currently 300,000 barrels per day.
BP said the "Alaska class" design will allow maximum flexibility for oil deliveries to West Coast ports, including BP refineries in Los Angeles and Cherry Point, Wash.