NASSCO Wins Order for Eighth ‘Ecotanker’

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Artist’s rendering of Ecotanker under construction at General Dynamics NASSCO. Image courtesy NASSCO

Pipeline and tanker operator Kinder Morgan Energy Partners said Monday it has expanded its contract with General Dynamics NASSCO for the construction of a fifth 50,000-ton tanker that can also be converted to carry liquefied natural gas.

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The 610-foot-long “ecotanker” will be a sister ship to the four “Jones Act” tankers Kinder Morgan currently has under construction at the NASSCO shipyard in San Diego. NASSCO is also building three similar tankers for Seabulk Tankers.

The Jones Act requires that goods transported by water between U.S. ports be carried on ships constructed in the United States.

“We are delighted to build an additional tanker (supported by a long-term charter with a major shipper), which clearly demonstrates Kinder Morgan’s ongoing commitment to marine transportation of crude oil, condensate and refined products in the United States domestic trade, commonly referred to as the Jones Act,” said Rob Kurz, vice president of Kinder Morgan Terminals and president of its subsidiary American Petroleum Tankers. “There continues to be increasing demand for waterborne transportation to move petroleum products.”

The tanker is based on the South Korean ECO design offering improved fuel efficiency and incorporating the latest environmental protection features. Construction is scheduled to begin in the fourth quarter of 2015 with delivery slated for the second quarter of 2017

“NASSCO is very pleased to be continuing our partnership with American Petroleum Tankers by building a fifth ECO tanker,” said Kevin Graney, NASSCO’s vice president and general manager. “This additional order, plus NASSCO’s existing backlog of tankers and containerships, is a clear indication that NASSCO is the shipyard of choice for Jones Act vessel construction.”

Kinder Morgan Energy Partners is a leading pipeline transportation and energy storage company. It owns an interest in or operates approximately 54,000 miles of pipelines and 180 terminals. It acquired American Petroleum Tankers in January.

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