Transportation news briefs, Aug. 7

Repsol-YPF � Gas Natural � Astilleros Espanoles � Williams ... Nigerian navy ... Agip

Spain's Repsol-YPF SA on July 31 signed 20-year charter contracts for three 138,000 cu m LNG tankers. Two are for Gas Natural SDG, in which Repsol-YPF is the controlling shareholder. The vessels will transport LNG from Trinidad and Tobago to Spain. Under the agreement, the vessels must be ready for work within 3 years. Astilleros Espanoles will build the ships at Sestao and Puerto Real shipyards. Astilleros Espanoles and the shipowners have already signed construction contracts.

A unit of Williams is holding a nonbinding open season through Sept. 21 for firm natural gas transportation service on the proposed Western Frontier Pipeline from the Cheyenne hub in northeastern Colorado to Hugoton Station on Williams' Central pipeline system in southwestern Kansas. The pipeline would provide 540,000 dekatherms/day of firm transportation service from the Rockies' supply basins, including Powder River, to the Midcontinent. Williams will seek approval from the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to construct 320 miles of pipeline and add 13,000 hp of compression for the Western Frontier Pipeline. Tentative in-service date is Nov. 1, 2003. Project cost has not been finalized.

The Nigerian navy has arrested five militants attempting to use dynamite to blow up a crude oil pipeline in the Niger Delta, reports Reuters. The pipeline is owned by Italy's Agip SPA. Commodore Ahmed Alabi said naval security agents last month impounded two barges carrying 1,650 tonnes of crude stolen from a punctured Shell pipeline; one barge exploded while being towed. Previous attempts to siphon petroleum from Nigeria's pipelines have involved refined products.

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