It’s all about capacity these days and the new 314'×66'×30' DP-2 offshore refueling vessel Great Expectations has plenty of it.

The vessel, built for a joint venture of John W. Stone Oil Distributor and Edison Chouest Offshore (ECO) at ECO’s La Ship in Houma, La., can carry up to 1.5 million gals. of fuel, potable water and lubricants

“Stone got off the Mayflower and onto the [Starship] Enterprise with this boat,” said Reed Davison, Stone’s project manager. “There’s nothing out there of this size and capacities that’s even close. We’ve gone from an abacus to super computer with this vessel.”

“We collaborated on the design,” said Tony Odak, Stone’s vice president, operations and business development. “It’s a customized Chouest design based on their VE (very efficient PSV) hull design.”

The new fuel oil re-supply vessel was delivered in August and is working out of Chouest’s C-Port facilities in Port Fourchon, La.



Stone specializes in diesel and residual fuels, custom blends, lubricants, chemicals and potable water for dockside, midstreaming, and offshore refueling along the Mississippi River from Baton Rouge, La., and into the Gulf of Mexico. Great Expectations will handle the Gulf deliveries. “It won’t make deliveries in the river, but it will come up to our facilities in Gretna [La.] to load product to be delivered offshore,” said Davison.

Great Expectations replaces the 280'×45' single skin Stone Buccaneer. The vessel, built in 1985, features capacities of over 800,000 gals. of fuel, water and lubricants. After almost 30 years of service, the Buccaneer will be retired on Oct. 20 because of OPA ’90 regulations requiring single-skin petroleum/chemical carriers plying U.S. waters to be double-hulled by January 2015. “We’ve been talking about getting her as a replacement [for the Buccaneer] for about three years,” said Odak.

Depending on the job, the new OSV can carry a combination of the following up to its 1.5 million gal. capacity: 36,730 gals. lube oil; 125,600 gals. potable water; 33,000 gals. slop oil; 590,100 gals. fresh water; 212,900 gals. fresh water/ballast; 41,890 gals. fresh water/anti-roll; 1,048,740 gals. diesel; 435,750 gals. intermediate fuel oil (IFO)/diesel (IFO is also called No. 6 fuel oil or bunker oil). 

“Usually deep-draft vessels burn IFO in their large, slow speed engines,” said Davison. “Those tanks are smooth walled without internal framing to allow them to be cleaned easily so they can go from IFO to diesel. Those tanks can carry either and were put there to allow the vessel to make offshore bunker deliveries.” 

“We have internally framed tanks that hold all the distillate, all the diesel. These are all made of carbon steel,” said Odak. “We also have externally framed tanks which we can put into the intermediate fuel service.”

Great Expectations will refuel drillships in the Gulf of Mexico just as the Buccaneer did, but because of its greater tankage capacity fewer hookups will be necessary, said Davison. “It’s a safer vessel because every time you have to hook up to discharge fuel or every time you have to disconnect, there’s more chance of error,” he said. “And you also have to shut down hot work operations each time you refuel a rig. With this vessel, they can take whatever they need all at once.”

“Or we can get out and do multiple jobs on one voyage,” added Odak. “She can receive garbage and spent lubricants as well.”

Davison said the Buccaneer would refuel a drillship every three or four weeks, while the new boat will refuel offshore structures every four to six weeks “depending on what operations are taking place and how quickly they’re using the fuel.”

Odak said drillships are not the only customers Stone has in the Gulf. Refueling supply boats is also a big part of the company’s offshore business. “It’s a re-supply vessel,” he said. “It carries no mud or general cargo on deck. We refuel a lot of supply boats. We’re not in competition with them. It looks like a supply boat, but it doesn’t quack like a supply boat. She’s a fuel oil carrier.”

Great Expectations will also supply fuel to FPSOs (floating production storage and offloading), flotels — state-of-the-art living accommodations built alongside or on top of floating oil and gas platforms — and MODUs (mobile offshore drilling units).

Twin Caterpillar C280 diesel engines, producing 3,600 hp at 1,000 rpm supply Great Expectations’ main propulsion. The Cats connect to Schottel  4-bladed 2,700-mm controllable pitch propellers through Flender GNBK 585 marine gears, giving the new OSV a running speed of 13.4 knots.

For added maneuverability around offshore structures, the new fuel oil carrier was fitted with twin Brunvoll 1,250-kW CPP bow tunnel thrusters, two Brunvoll 800-kW CPP stern tunnel thrusters and a DP-2 system from Marine Technologies.

 “Oil companies are going out farther and farther and the vessels are getting bigger and bigger,” said Odak. “I think [Great Expectations] is more capable than any other refueling vessel in the world. She’s the Swiss Army Knife of fuelers.”


Stone upgrading more than just a vessel 

John W. Stone has partnered with Edison ChouestOffshore in introducing its newest offshore refueling vessel, Great Expectations, to the Gulf of Mexico. But Stone’s efforts to keep up with customer demands have given rise to other improvements for the company and its facilities. 

Stone continues to make upgrades to its two existing docks in Louisiana as well as purchasing new facilities and upgrading several existing facilities on the Mississippi River. The improvements and additions are necessary to accommodate future growth in the supply of traditional fuels, associated products and services and LNG, said Tony Odak, Stone’s vice president, operations & business development.

“We have initiated our upgrade and addition plan to support not only the growing Gulf of Mexico offshore oil business but are making preparations for changes both in the domestic and the international shipping arena,” said Odak. “Stone has begun the upgrade of our main terminal in Gretna to support the new ECA (Emissions Control Areas) emissions fuel regulations. These upgrades will include dedicated tanks, piping and pumps in our terminal, as well as the same on our delivery barges. The barges all have dual pumping capability for IFO (No. 6 fuel oil), ECA compliant fuel, marine gas oil, as well as lubricants and exhaust treatment products.”

Currently, Stone has another fuel terminal under construction in Port Fourchon, La., with capacities for 100,000 bbls. of diesel as well as 50,000 bbls. of water/lubricants. It will also offer crane service and cold ironing. Stone has also reserved an area for future expansion in Fourchon that will bring its fueling capacity in the port to nearly 300,000 bbls. 

In addition to its offshore deliveries, Odak said that such a high volume of products could only be supported with Stone’s existing brownwater fleet of boats and barges and its 35,000-bbl. offshore barge. “We are having several barges built for both inland and offshore service by Conrad Industries,” he said. “The largest of which is an 85,000-barrel ATB (articulated tug-barge unit) that will be capable of full oceans service as well as lightering operations, with its unique Intercon coupling design. In addition, we will soon be taking delivery of a 30,000-barrel inland barge with dual pumping capability for lightering and bunkering operations.” — Ken Hocke 


Great Expectations SPECIFICATIONS 

Builder: La Ship

Designer: Edison Chouest Offshore

Owner: Edison Chouest Offshore/John W. Stone Oil Distributor

Operator: John W. Stone Oil Distributor

Mission: Deliver fuel to drillships, MODUs, Gulf of Mexico rigs 

Length: 314'Beam: 66'

Depth (Molded): 30'

Draft: 25'6"

Main Propulsion: (2) Caterpillar C280, 3,600 hp at 1,000 rpm

Ship’s Service Power: (3) Caterpillar C32, 910 kw

Marine Gear: (4) Flender GNBK 585 driving (2) Schottel CPP 4-bladed, 2,700-mm wheel and (2) 2.2-mW shaft generator

Propeller: (2) Schottel CPP 4-bladed, 2,700 mm

Controls: Marine Technologies

Thrusters: (2) Brunvoll 1,250-kW (1,675 hp) CPP bow tunnel thrusters, electric; (2) Brunvoll 800-kW (1,072 hp) CPP stern tunnel thrusters, electric

Steering System: (2) independent high lift rudder system

Speed (knots): 13.4

Hull Construction: Steel

Deadweight Tonnage: 4,880 GT

Crew/Passenger Capacity: 10 crew, 24 bunks 

Capacities (gals.): Fuel, 1,048,740; lube oil, 36,730; intermediate fuel oil, 435,750; fresh water, 590,100; fresh water/ballast, 212,900; fresh water/anti-roll, 41,890; potable water, 125,600; slop oil, 33,000 

Electronics: Marine Technologies DP system, Furuno radars

Ancillary Equipment/Systems: (4) Yokohama mooring fender

Classification/Certification: ABS A1, Fuel Oil Carrier, Offshore Support Vessel, Supply, AMS, ACCU, DPS-2, POT, UWILD, ACP, CRC

Delivery Date: August 2014