Conoco Inc. Orders Two Double-Hull Tankers From Samsung Shipbuilding

U.S. oil producer Conoco Inc., Houston, Texas, recently ordered two double-hulled 95,000-ton tankers from South Korean Samsung Shipbuilding & Engineering for operation in the Gulf of Mexico.

The double-hull tanker contract represents a break by Conoco from other U.S. oil firms, which have resisted ordering such type vessels. At present, bills have been passed by both the House and the Senate concerning the fitting of double bottoms and double hulls on all tankers and tanker barges operating in domestic ports.

The House version of the bill would require that existing vessels be retrofitted with double bottoms over seven years and double hulls over 15 years.

The Senate version calls for further study before passing any legislation. Both bills are currently under review by the House-Senate Conference Committee.

The legislation would not only affect the 153 U.S.-flag tankers and 1,800 oil barges, but also the 200 to 300 foreign tankers serving U.S. ports. The American Petroleum Institute estimates that it would cost more than $16.6 billion to retrofit all of these vessels.

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