Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Nor'easter blows in to East Coast

Irving Oil has brought the Marshall Islands tanker Nor'easter into Canadian registry October 6 and renamed it East Coast*. One of four ships built by Vroon at Hyundai Mipo for long term charter to Irving Oil, only Acadian was Canadian flagged. The other three, Nor'easter, Great Eastern and New England were flagged in the Marshall Islands, since they would be trading internationally between Saint John and mostly US ports.

With the closure of Imperial Oil's refinery in Halifax, Irving Oil has found the need for more domestic tanker capacity and has had to apply for three coasting licenses this year alone to allow Nor'easter to run between Canadian ports. Now they have made the decision that the ship is needed more in Canada.

This is the fourth foreign fagged tanker brought under Canadian flag this year. Algoma Tankers brought in Algoma Hansa  in July, also as a result of changing trade patterns due to the Imperial closure. Both Irving and Algoma will be transporting refined products with their tankers.

 Desgagnés bought two tankers to run from Montreal to Lévis with crude oil from the newly configured Alberta pipeline.

The fall out from Imperial's closure has seen a spike in the number of ships arriving in Halifax, with all refined product for the area arriving by ship. If only we could get top quality furnace oil, instead of the low grade, mostly kerosene, that comes from Texas, consumers might be happier.

As mentioned in the prior post Algoma Dartmouth has gone to Port Hawksbury to load bunkering fuel, which is no longer produced in Halifax.

Now that Nor'Easter has become East Coast the large code letter "N" on the superstructure below the funnel will have to be changed to an "E". This quick way of identifying which ship of an identical quartet is perhaps unique.

Also on the Irving Oil front, construction has started on Canaport 2, their crude oil export facility, which will connect to the yet to be built TransCanada's Energy East Pipeline. That project is intended to bring Alberta crude to tidewater, with terminals in Cacouna, QC and Saint John. The Cacouna project (next door to Riviere-du-Loup) has been put on hold due to environmental concerns. On the edge or in the middle of the endangered beluga territory and a bird sanctuary, drilling for foundations was halted this summer.

Irving Oil is weaning itself from rail deliveries of crude oil, but will still be bringing in Bakken crude from the US by train. They will be upgrading their tank cars ahead of the regulatory deadlines. Those rail cars go through Sorel, QC which has also become a crude export port.

* There was already a Nor'Easter, a Nor'Easter I and a Nor Easter 07 on the Canadian Registry, so the existing name was not available unless the owners of at least one of those craft could be persuaded to give up the name.

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