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September 5, 2005

Tanker cargo transfers back to pre-Katrina levels

Gulf tanker lightering specialist SPT reports that Hurricane Katrina caused only a brief interruption to its operations at the height of the storm. Wthin days, all of its vessels were operating at pre-storm utilization levels.There was no physical damage to its fleet nor injury to the crews aboard its vessels.

SPT either positioned its vessels outside the hurricane impact area or kept the vessels in ports off the area of the storm, which reduced any potential for impact from the hurricane.

SPT is a joint venture of I.M. Skaugen and Teekay Shipping involved in the "ship to ship" transfer of crude oil from VLCC's and ULCC's to vessels capable of entering ports that the larger tankers cannot enter.

The only U.S. port that can handle VLCC's and ULCC's is the LOOP (Louisiana Offshore Oil Port). SPT handles about one million barrels oil per day off U.S. waters-- about 11 percent of U.S. seaborne crude-oil imports.

SPT has a policy and procedures to limit the impact of hurricanes on its activities in the area and these were followed. In total, SPT estimates it lost very few operating days to Katrina related delays.

"For those areas that have been impacted by Katrina, such as the refineries in Louisiana and Mississippi," says a statement from the company, "SPT is currently off loading at alternative ports to be able to meet its customers' needs. Most pipelines are operating now, the LOOP is operational and more refineries are getting back into operation. The reduced capacity in the oil import infrastructure will last for some time and will cause volumes of crude oil to be imported to be lower for some days or weeks, but crude vessels will also be employed as storage vessels. Overall utilization will thus not be impacted to a great extent."

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