September 11 2004

Chouest continues aggressive newbuilding program

Galliano, La., based offshore marine service provider Edison Chouest Offshore (ECO) has announced plans to continue its newbuilding program. It has also revealed that it is participant in Island Offshore Shipholding LP, which has recently placed a number of significant OSV orders with Norwegian yards.

Chouest, which has added around 70 new generation deepwater OSV's over the past decade, the company now has plans for 11 new vessels, with options for an additional 14.

Construction highlights feature:

  • three additional 280-ft deepwater supply vessels, with an option for another 10;
  • four 160-ft fast supply vessels, with an option for another four;
  • three Norwegian-designed and built platform supply vessels;
  • a 348-ft survey support ship.

The supply vessels and survey support ship are being constructed at ECO's shipbuilding facilities in Larose and Houma, La.; the fast supply vessels are designed and built at Breaux Brothers Enterprises in Loreauville, La.

The reasons for the aggressive newbuilding program are "quite simple," according to ECO President Gary Chouest. "We are continuing to honor our commitment to build the types of vessels our customers are requesting," he says. "These new vessels continue to raise the industry bar in terms of efficiency and capabilities."

ECO's shipyards have already delivered the first four in the series of 280-ft deepwater supply vessels, all currently working in the Gulf of Mexico. The fifth in the series, the KOBE CHOUEST, is scheduled for a September 2004 delivery.

Three additional vessels in the series have been committed to by Chouest, the first to be delivered in March 2005 and the others by year's end.

ECO says the 280-ft series has "revolutionized the supply vessel industry in the Gulf of Mexico." The design features deadweight tonnage of 4,962 LT, as well as dedicated below deck tankage for 15,644 barrels of liquid mud and 1,826 barrels of methanol.

The 160-ft fast supply vessels will join a fleet of 11 others currently operating for ECO domestically and internationally. The scheduled delivery dates for the four newbuilds are in March, July, September and December 2005.

The three Norwegian platform supply vessels will join a recently delivered subsea support vessel operating for Island Offshore Shipholding LP, a joint venture between ECO and a prominent Norwegian partner.

The ISLAND FRONTIER, built in Norway by the Soviknes Verft AS on a Rolls Royce UT 737-L design, measures 348 ft x 78 ft x 28 ft.

The ISLAND FRONTIER is capable of handling subsea installation and module operations, ROV operations, well intervention services, diving support, trenching, offshore pipe and cable laying, as well as transportation and loading of pipes, equipment and cargo.

"It is a remarkable vessel for us," said Roger White, ECO's Senior Vice President. "It is our first vessel rated as DP-3 and can work anywhere in the world."

The three additional Norwegian PSVs will also feature Ulstein designs—a P105 (283 ft.), a 745E (298 ft.) and a 755L (236 ft.). All three are currently in various stages of construction in Norway.

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