<!-- MAIN PHOTO --> <!-- /MAIN PHOTO --> <!-- BYLINE -->
By Kathrine Schmidt
<!-- /BYLINE --> <!-- PUBDATE --> Published: Wednesday, July 22, 2009 at 3:33 p.m. Last Modified: Wednesday, July 22, 2009 at 3:33 p.m. <!-- /PUBDATE --> HOUMA – Edison Chouest Offshore has landed a contract with Shell to build the company’s largest vessel ever, a $150 million arctic supply vessel to support drilling in Alaska. <!--
–> <!-- GRAY BOX ARTICLE CONTENT–> <!-- /GRAY BOX ARTICLE CONTENT–> “This is the largest, most sophisticated vessel the company has ever been awarded,” said Lonnie Thibodeaux, director of corporate communications. “It’s a very diverse state-of-the-art vessel that absolutely does not exist in the world today.”
The contract for the 360-foot vessel, which will help stabilize drilling rigs and deliver supplies in the icy and dangerous waters of the Arctic, was announced about three weeks ago at an Alaska news conference attended by ECO President Gary Chouest, Thibodeaux said.
As with the company’s other vessels, hull 247 will be built by the company and staffed by Edison Chouest personnel and is slated to operate in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas of the Outer Continental Shelf.
The vessel will either be built at the Galliano-based company’s new LaShip yard, currently under construction in Houma, or at TampaShip, the Florida yard the company acquired last year. That decision will be made by the end of the year, Thibodeaux said.
“Building that vessel here in this market is a huge economic feather in this area’s cap,” Thibodeaux said. “We’d much prefer to construct it here.”
The $100 million investment of LaShip is billed as a major economic-development coup for the Houma-Thibodaux area and promises 1,000 jobs with average salaries in the mid-$50,000s.
The vessel would occupy those workers for about 1.3 million man-hours, or two years, Thibodeaux said.
That decision will depend on how negotiations currently proceed with a massive dry dock structure that will be owned by the port but leased by LaShip, and whether the yard can be ready in enough time to meet the ship’s delivery deadline in 2012.
I actually like working in cold weather…