Floating Pipelines: Shuttle Tankers

Both within the industry and our life, we do still supply our needs of energy from hydrocarbon in line with consumption. With this regard, crude oil does still have the primary role. Looking through the political providence and investments of nations, crude oil will yet have that role for 20 – 30 years more through the future.

However the market, manufacture and consumption of crude oil are available and receptive to major changes. Consider that the other nations in Asia will participate in the industry and production raised in China. Therefore the raise in the industry will inherently enhance the sale of energy. As the frame of industry extends to east region, there will be less demand on energy in Europe and enhancement of alternative energy will be led up. West region will progress in technology and management areas rather than production of refined substances. In any case, as if it is just the west region concerned, environmental protection rules are the indication of those described along with the population density descending.

The data in economics declares that the cost of petrol will increase. The USA will when appropriate intend to decrease the margin of petrol they purchase propounding US dollars to market in order to recover their own economy. Considering the present conditions in politics, it is uneasy to estimate how any multilateral proposition in the region of Arabian Gulfs will increase the cost of petrol. Present cases of opposition in politics are surely sufficient enough to keep the cost of petrol about $120.

High cost of petrol proves that the oil wells, which could not be drilled in the past due to prevailing circumstances of costing, could yet be drilled. Oil well discovered in 1986 in the Bay of Alexandretta is a good example. Nonetheless the workout will not herein remain limited. Forwhy the geological background of our region and uniformity to territorial waters drilled seem to be fairly devastating for foreign investors.

The increase in costs and politic coercion in Arabian Gulfs will step up the exploration and research in unprecedented oil fields. That sort of exploration intensifies in open sea and offshore fields that the number of oil rigs and drill ships does swiftly rise.

After the disaster of Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico, recent enforcements decided has advanced to the operational level, but no diversity negatively has occurred in the number of drilling units (MODU – Mobile Offshore Drilling Unit). The USA Government will moreover indulge drilling operation soon in Chukchi Sea off Alaska, which is more risky as a matter of fact.

The needs in the industry are not merely limited with MODU. Many ship of various types and particulars are called for such process specified below.

Just as the staff is expected to have several qualifications, applicable for the ships as well. It is not ever after just adequate to transport the cargo from one port to another. For instance as for the process described above the tankers must have Bow Loading System (BLS) and Dynamic Positioning (DP) in particular or think about Dockships, Heavy Lift Vessels carrying structural equipments required for the construction of a platform and Floating Production, Storage Off-Loading Vessel (FPSO) in open sea. For those to operate close to each other effectively without the risk of collision, DP system is a must. That is to say the process is not based on just oil rigs drilling or drill ships, it is for all vessels operating within the area of oilfield.

There were 3 companies possessing and also operating Shuttle Tankers in just Arctic waters. With the investments in the Gulf of Mexico and Brazil, the number of companies participated has raised. The cooperation between Transpetro, shipping branch under the scope of Petrobas and Teekay was accompanied by NYK, which purchased share of 50% from Knutsen having long-standing background. Lauritzen has made conversion of their handysize tankers to Shuttle Tankers in the shipyard and taken delivery of newly-built Aframax Shuttle Tanker in China. Apart from these, SCF has been operating Shuttle Tankers in Arctic waters and off Asia and Pacific shores since they are built convenient to Arctic waters and such. In addition, North Sea Shipping, which is a Chinese Company, is one of the customers indenting upon the building of a Shuttle Tanker.

Since the sector is thus much in need of that system, tankers type of Aframax and Suezmax with common single propeller not having bow or stern thrusters (tunnel thrusters) are converted to be Shuttle Tankers. The leading shipyards on conversion of Shuttle Tankers are in Gdansk and Dubai. The shipyard in Dubai, having made a conversion of one (1) Aframax and one (1) Suezmax, has received an order from AET company for two (2) new Shuttle Tankers. Putting aside the fact that there is no significant information about the cost of conversion, the cost of a Shuttle Tanker of Aframax type delivered by Teekay is 130 million dollars. Teekay purchased a two-year-old Suezmax for conversion for 90 million dollars in 2007.

However the main reason for the necessity of Shuttle Tankers aforesaid is the increasing demand on FPSO. Those are utilised having converted from old tankers, which is quite affordable. The conversion to FPSO is about 120 million dollars and completed less than a year period.

The conversion is not localised of these for certain, to illustrate a dockship or a heavy lift is even applicable. Considering the facilities of wind turbines to be constructed at sea to acquire renewable energy, specific types of heavy lift vessels will be of essential.

When we investigate recession at current market, the conversion may be a sort of remedy for both dockyard managers and tanker managers. The ships for conversion do not necessarily have to be old as the tankers converted are three (3) to five (5) years old. Especially the tanker managers indenting upon such conversion, which has not currently been processed yet, may proceed through the level of production of Shuttle Tankers instead of getting entitled with market already satisfied. The cooperation on projects and long term charter agreements in terms of financial resources by management companies may be ensamples.

Translation By: Burak Konakoglu

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