Who’s first in the race to battery-operated platform supply vessels—ECO or Harvey Gulf?

The Harvey Energy (Courtesy Harvey Gulf)

Two Louisiana marine firms both are publicly laying claim to being first in the race for battery-operated platform supply vessels.

Offshore vessel operator Edison Chouest Offshore, or ECO, announced last week that it has finalized a long-term contract with an oil major in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico to install a battery-hybrid system aboard a 300-foot PSV. The system is designed to reduce the vessel’s carbon footprint during operations and port standby periods, and Chouest described the agreement as the first contract of its kind.

The Chouest affiliate Marine Technologies is providing its own proprietary automation to integrate battery power with the vessel’s propulsion system. According to ECO, it will be the first system of its kind to allow the PSV to work inside the 500-meter safety zone around an offshore rig.

“Receiving the first-ever contract for battery technology in the Jones Act market demonstrates the close relationship we maintain with our clients and their trust in working with Edison Chouest Offshore,” ECO Executive Vice President Dino Chouest said in making the statement. “Through these efforts, we can reduce our carbon footprint and protect the environment for future generations, while our technological innovations make our customers’ offshore operations more efficient and cost-effective.”

But not long after the news became public, ECO’s competitor, Harvey Gulf, quickly disputed that contention via Facebook, noting that it has been operating an LNG-fueled PSV with battery-hybrid power for the past three months. The vessel is on hire for a term contract with a major oil company, Harvey Gulf said. That vessel—the Harvey Energy—will be followed in January by another battery-hybrid, the Harvey Champion. 

“For 10 years, all my U.S. competitors have been chasing their tail trying to catch up with me and all of my accomplishments in [decarbonization]. Clearly, I’m the pioneer and leader in this space. But I’m glad to see ECO stepping up and being third,” Harvey Gulf CEO Shane Guidry said in the statement. “I’m very pleased with the three months that just ended for operation of one of my vessels with battery power. We are seeing in excess of 20 percent fuel savings, as well as major reductions in carbon emissions.”