July 7, 2005

ExxonMobil to acquire two BP tankers for Alaska service

According to a report in the Anchorage Daily News, "Exxon Mobil has cobbled together a partial plan to replace its fleet of single-hulled oil tankers with double-hulled vessels."

According to the newspaper, Exxon Mobil will acquire the Kenai, built in 1979, and the Tonsina, built in 1978, from BP and take them to Singapore's Jurong Shipyard for an extensive refurbishment.

The newspaper quotes a spokesman for Exxon Mobil's SeaRiverMaritime, Ray Botto, as saying the purchase of the two ships is an interim step in a broader but still incomplete plan to upgrade the company's Alaska fleet. The plan could include building new, double-hulled tankers, he is quoted as saying.

Because BP has added new ships to its fleet, it no longer needs the Kenai, built in 1979, and the Tonsina, built in 1978, the Anchorage Daily News quotes Anil Mathur, president of BP's shipping affiliate, Alaska Tanker Co., as saying.

The two ships originally weren't built with double hulls, but they were converted when operators stopped filling the outer cargo tanks with crude oil, effectively turning single-hulled vessels into lower-capacity double hulls, Mathur is reported as saying.

SeaRiver plans to rechristen the Kenai as the Sierra, and the Tonsina as the Kodiak, according to the newspaper, which notes that SeaRiver representatives recently disclosed their plans to the Prince William Sound Regional Citizens' Advisory Council.

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