An Open Letter to Edison Chouest Offshore and Gary Chouest


It was being discussed so I thought I’d ask before I forgot.


MEBA offers a 401k but no match. Their (the company’s) contributions go into the pension.

I hear that Moran Towing does 401k with company match, even on their union boats.


In my experience, the unions suck worse than most employers. Only the bad employers, including Bayou Joe Boss, need a union.


that pretty much sums it up…I know many good non union companies (several right here in the NW) who do not abuse their mariners and actually treat them with the respect they deserve. There is absolutely no reason whatsoever a union contact is needed to protect them because they get that already.


Horizontal fracking has been around since the 60’s. New money ($140/bbl) & deregulation allowing permits more than new technology drove their up cycle; slick water did help with permeability and recovery rates, but that is just a value exercise. If you look at the recent announcement from Pioneer Drilling, the gas to oil ratios have become unfavorable from the best wells in the Permian Basin. This has caused some concern with investors and verification back to offshore is being conveyed by many stake holders. Short cycle investment is a short term strategy. Deepwater portfolios is a must when things do turn around.

I’m only saying this because there are many challenges with land wells too, and it will only get more difficult over time. As a result of the down turn, only the best prospects attracted continued investment, and this has not been that profitable, although resilience and risk mitigation was proven with this strategy. The main driver here is debt facilities and meeting those obligations to the bean counters. Big profits @$45/bbl? Not hardly.

One thing is for certain, 2020 will be interesting. (this is only 3 years away). Many banks and investment firms have warned a future spike in prices due to lack of investment. Deepwater will come back as will everything else. Each year, the world needs over 1,000,000 bbls per day more as compared to the year before (this was just upped by EIA to 1.5 mm/day aligned with 2013-14, and decay rates do not go away.

By 2020, 20 million barrels per day + increase demand must be met by wells not even yet drilled.

If someone thinks deepwater is going away, they need to research a little more, math doesn’t lie. Offshore drilling contractors are being called and many more tenders are being executed for 2018. 2019 it will get fun again, but profits will not be seen until 2020, or maybe a little later due to the saturation of tonnage.

Of course, anything can happen. You will see a sustained $70 bbls in the short term if Venezuela completely implodes.


But what of new fracking production from fields where it has yet to be introduced…namely in foreign nations?

There will never be cost parity between landbased production and deepwater offshore. As long as the increase in demand for crude can be met from landbased wells then deepwater will not be attractive from an investment point of view…only massive “elephant” finds in deepwater can be even close to competitive.


Gotcha. I got that with an interview with the CEO of Chevron that I watched. He was explaining the changes in technology that were driving an exponential spike in output. That said, I’ll back off because I know little bout the subject and…because I am happy on my big union box ship and will never (I’m saying it).go to back to the GOM.

I certainly hope for everyone’s sake the oil field returns to prosperity. Its not fun to watch a lot of good people that want to earn their living on a vessel not able to do so. From a selfish standpoint plenty Academy grads that went straight to the oilfield are standing right next to me at the union hall competing for the few jobs offered to an applicant.


MEBA has a money purchase benefit (MPB) which averages 5% for most contracts (more on some.) It is like a 401K match without participating in the 401K and is in addition to their Defined Benefit pension.


Forgive me if I save my applause for MEBA until after they have paid a measly $230 for a launch to get theirs members/pledges safely ashore from the abandoned Transatlantic in Long Beach.


I want the oil fields to pick up so the mudboat guys will leave tugs and make room for those of us who never left tugs to move up to better companies and equipment.


Not long ago this board was filled with phrases like ‘2015 will be the turn around year’ and ‘2016 offshore will come back with vengeance’ and ‘by next summer the boom is back!’

I wouldn’t mortgage the house on a turnaround. Most of the hype has been propaganda intended to raise expectations (and stock prices) in the short term. Talk is cheap and so is oil.

With OPEC and Russia chomping at the bit to increase production which all are easily able to do, not to mention the frackers, any hint of long term price rise will cause an increase in production without offshore.

There just is no supply side bottleneck.

Soon the wells drilled in the early 2010s will come on-line. Global growth (China especially) hasn’t been accelerating much and technology in alternatives to carbon are maturing.

The sad truth for us is that this isn’t a cycle but a fundamental change.




There is nothing wrong with not liking the company you work for. If you don’t like your job, find something else to do by the house to keep some money coming in until you find another job that you would like. There are PLENTY of people out there who WISH they where still working on the boats to keep a paycheck. I got laid off after working for ECO for 4 years. I BEGGED my coordinator to find me a spot as an AB and I have the 6000 master osv and unlimited dpo, I didn’t care i just wanted to keep working and more importantly keep my benefits. Unfortunately that didn’t happen. I spent 9 months trying to find a full time job, while doing small side gigs and some contract work, until i landed a full time job, granted i don’t really like it but it pays my bills. I still am doing contract work on the tugs HGIM sold working on getting the sea time to submit for my towing endorsement.

The job market for the entire industry is pretty tight right now. A lot of tug companies are starting to feel the pinch cause of the downturn. Vane brothers just laid off some 60 people from what i hear, correct me if i am wrong, OSG has laid up a couple boats, Crowley is laying up some equipment, Bouchard laid up vessels etc etc.

Even if you got a job as an deckhand/ab on another vessel, you probably wont make as much are you are now. Most tugs are even time and starting pay with no experience on them are pretty low, my guess average is at 200 if not lower.

If they keep you working, just keep your mouth shut and DO YOUR JOB!!! things will turn around and when more boats finally get pulled out of stack it will open up more opportunities for you or start knocking on doors again.

I don’t know how old your are but you sound like a typical millennial who wants everything handed to them for doing nothing to earn it. I can say while I was at ECO, if someone like you came across the boat I was on with that kind of attitude;
"I would gladly save you hundreds of dollars a day if you gave me my pay back. I could easily do it too. But as it stands why should I even care? I see this all the time now. The maintenance is getting pencil whipped, fragile and sensitive equipment is broken on purpose, cleaning supplies and oils are wasted and dumped everywhere with reckless abandon, rust ignored, expensive equipment neglected and allowed to burn out, food simply thrown away or left out to rot. Why should we care? Its not our equipment, its not our money. People didn’t have this attitude when you were paying us well. As long as you pay me this BS pay… I am going to cost you more than it would take to simply pay me more. And it isn’t even sabotage. Im not running around with an ax breaking things. Its just a mindset I and others have adopted, some of them don’t even realize it. We cost you a lot more than you think."
The Master and myself would run you the fuck off the boat.


Don’t blame OPEC and Russia, they are the only ones to reduce production, while other major producers, such as USA and major exporters, such as Norway, is increasing theirs.

Oil will be a less and less important commodity in the future, while renewables are increasing by leaps and bounds, regardless of resistance from certain quarters.

Norway is aiming to get rid of petrol and diesel cars by 2030 and be the first nation that is all electric by 2050:
I think Iceland may be earlier to reach that goal though.

The future for those now working on the boats in GoM probably lays in Offshore Wind on the East and West coasts and MAYBE wave power in Alaska and Hawaii.
Otherwise, get ashore and look at Solar power. Plenty of work is already being created there.


I worked for ECO back in 1995 and some of this stuff was going on back then. It seems they really didn’t have a clue on how to run a company, just doing bizarre things. This was when Edison Chouest (the guy) was still alive. Certain captains always got the best boats and star treatment from the office, regardless of how incompetent they were. They simply ignored the complaints from clients and employees. There was always turnover in the unlicensed ranks.

They have been sued many times by the department of labor and they lost every time, this created the only meaningful policy changes. One example was the time clocks. there used to be time clocks in the chief mates office where you had to punch in and out. You were required to punch out and in for coffee breaks and meals. When you accumulated 12 hours you could knock off. Apparently it was illegal, DOL forced them to pay employees for the meals and breaks, and they had to give reasonable break periods.

A certain infamous captain was know for firing people especially ABs and oilers. Some guys were fired before they even got out of the carryall. He would stick his head in and say “send these two guys back” based on their appearance.

Looking back it was actually a pretty good job as far as boat jobs go. I left for greener pastures.


who were invariably at least 300#, had no teeth, were functionally illiterate and spoke to the level of their IQ which might have been up to a 3rd grader but DAMNED they were all first rate boat handlers

do the initials RB mean anything here?


Yes but the guy I am referring to was Captain V-- who had only one eye!


:grinning: Boat handling doesn’t make a captain, it just makes a person a boat handler. Things go south quick when companies confuse the two. You got to wonder what goes thru the office people’s mind. But I figure it goes like this “We need a new captain, got a new boat coming out, who we gonna choose to run dat business?”
“Give the new boat to L.A. Boudreux ! I know his moma real well a long time, he ain’t run into to anything with dat boat he got and keeps the top on his spit bottle. He’s management right there!”


Yeah, that sounds about right. Being a good boat driver and keeping the cap on your spit bottle are the two most important things for an OSV “captain” to do well.


still hope this thread need not wither and die…still so much more rotten fruit we can throw at ol’ Joe B.