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Vol. 17, No. 37 Week of September 09, 2012
Providing coverage of Alaska and northern Canada's oil and gas industry

ExxonMobil’s new tankers get names, Liberty Bay, Eagle Bay

ExxonMobil has settled on names for the two new oil tankers it’s building to carry Alaska North Slope crude.

The double-hull ships will be called Liberty Bay and Eagle Bay, according to the Prince William Sound Regional Citizens’ Advisory Council.

The nonprofit council monitors industry operations at Valdez, where tankers load crude for delivery to West Coast refineries, and periodically receives updates from shipping companies.

Aker Philadelphia Shipyard in Pennsylvania is building the tankers for SeaRiver Maritime Inc., ExxonMobil’s U.S. marine affiliate. Aker said it began construction on the first ship in March.

The new tankers will replace a pair of SeaRiver tankers built in the 1970s, the Kodiak and the Sierra.

ExxonMobil has said construction of the new tankers is a $400 million project.

The tankers will be of a size known as Aframax in the shipping industry. Each will be 820 feet long with a carrying capacity of 730,000 barrels of crude — well over the current average daily production of North Slope oil.

The ships are scheduled for completion in 2014.

Ray Botto, spokesman for Houston-based SeaRiver, confirmed to Petroleum News that the new tankers will be named Liberty Bay and Eagle Bay.

Onboard units will combat invasives

In the July issue of its newsletter The Observer, the council said the new SeaRiver tankers will feature onboard, state-of-the-art ballast water filtration and chlorination units to “help neutralize threats from invasive species.”

A recently implemented U.S. Coast Guard rule requires such treatment technology on newly built oil tankers, the newsletter said.

A problem for shipping is the possibility of nonindigenous species such as fish, crabs or microorganisms to travel in ballast water. These organisms can take up residence in local waters and potentially harm native aquatic life or create other problems.

The units on the SeaRiver tankers will filter incoming ballast water and treat it with low levels of hypochlorite, enough to eliminate nuisance species, the council newsletter said.

“The hypochlorite will be neutralized using sodium bisulfite, a common food preservative, when the ballast water is discharged,” the newsletter said.

—Wesley Loy



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