Crowley, UIC form venture in Arctic

Alaska Landscape. (Dan Joling, AP)
Alaska Landscape. (Dan Joling, AP)

Long time marine transport providers Crowley Marine Services and Ukpeagvik Inupiat Corporation or UIC Bowhead have formed a joint venture to help meet the growing demand for services in the Arctic.

Jim Dwight is general manager of Bowhead Transport Company. He says as on and offshore development ramp up in the Arctic, the UIC Bowhead Crowley partnership will be ready for the challenges:

“We’re there year round, we’ve been there year round. It’s operations that Crowley and Bowhead from a logistics point of view, marine transportation point of view, lighterage, very special, shallow draft vessels for going, virtually anywhere between the Canadian Border and Kotzebue Sound. We have all the gear to get into all the little nooks and crannies along the way,” Dwight said.

Dwight says the services they will provide to oil, gas and possibly mining companies will not be new or unique, but the work will considerably expand their fleet.

“The range on that is anywhere from seven or eight million dollar landing craft to a 40 to 50 million dollar specialized tug and barge set with various capabilities for pollution control and anchor work and that sort of thing. So there’s a wide range of vessels and cost that we’re looking at, in the big picture here and the big picture is a five to 15 to 20 year program,” Dwight said.

Dwight says he can’t say yet how many more jobs it will translate into. He says they are targeting Shell and ConocoPhillips for the transport and pollution control equipment needs they will have as they work on offshore development. Dwight adds they immediately have several years of work at the Point Thomson site, located 60 miles east of Prudhoe Bay.

Lori Townsend, Alaska Public Media

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