Annual Review & Outlook 2013: Crowley Maritime Corp.

Thomas B. Crowley, Jr.We are seeing an energy revolution taking hold in the oil and gas fields of the United States. New drilling techniques are unlocking vast reserves unreachable just a few years ago. Oil and natural gas production in the U.S. is increasing at its fastest rate in 50 years, and today the nation is on track to produce 10 million barrels a day by 2015, rising to 11.1 million barrels by 2020, making the United States the world's leader.

These developments offer significant opportunities for the maritime industry as they relate to exploration and production, petroleum transportation and the use of fuel to conduct global trade. We have invested more than $1 billion in new assets in recent years and restructured our company to better serve energy customers.

For the upstream energy sector, we have built new heavy-lift deck barges and high endurance tugboats with dynamic positioning technology to serve energy companies in deep-water Gulf of Mexico, the Arctic and elsewhere. We have established our solutions group, Crowley’s Houston-based project management organization, and our project logistics and global freight management group to work closely with the energy exploration and production sector.

Rising U.S. oil production has also increased demand for U.S.-flag tonnage to transport petroleum products within the U.S. and its territories, which is why we have built 17 new articulated tug barges and acquired two new tankers during the past 10 years. Our transportation of Eagle Ford Shale crude from the Texas coast is further evidence of U.S. production impacting demand for U.S.-flag vessels, particularly those of the highest quality and operated to the highest safety standards.

Increased extraction and production of natural gas makes it very likely that we will see vessels built to run on this cleaner burning, more plentiful and cost efficient fuel. Already we are seeing the cost recovery differential narrow between vessels running on traditional fuels and those that could be built to run on natural gas. Crowley’s naval architects and marine engineers at Jensen Maritime have designs for LNG tugs and ships ready to go as soon as the market, including the requisite infrastructure, can support their construction.

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