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Alabamians have sought new sources of energy to help them develop this great State since the origin of our statehood. The energy needs of the State continue to grow at an ever increasing rate. The farmer, the fisherman, the businessman, and the housewife all have increased energy needs and common concerns. Many of them have shown their concern by supporting the AMERAPORT Corporation. To these Alabamians we say, "Thank you," and solicit their continued financial and moral support. To those Alabamians who have not yet shown their support, we ask them to join us in contributing to the economic improvement of our State.
The report that follows is a chronicle of past activities and a plan for future steps by the AMERAPORT Corporation. It is presented to provide you with a summary of where and how contributions were applied. It is also an indication of the stewardship entrusted to the officers and staff. We think you will find that much progress has been made and that the AMERAPORT Corporation has sought to perform in the best interests of all Alabamians.
While this report addresses a specific aspect of development, i.e., an off-shore oil terminal and associated refineries, this is only the beginning. As commerce expands, consideration will be given to expanding the terminal to handle other commodities.
We should also consider the petro-chemical and other related secondary industries that will develop as a result of the initial terminal. These industries will provide additional jobs and boost the economy statewide and in the AMERAPORT impact area.
The AMERAPORT is like a pebble thrown into a still pool. The ripples will impinge on every side.
L. W. "Red" Noonan
Recently, there has been considerable interest shown by several agencies and states in developing a Superport in the Gulf of Mexico. This interest is bolstered by the advent of operational supertankers and the prospects of vessels in excess of 450,000 dead weight tons. Ships of this size evolved out of the economies of large ship transportation for oil. The recent increase in the number of supertankers, both under construction and planned, comes from the developed world's increasing energy needs. An energy shortage has already been experienced in the United States, and is likely to become severe as the national per capita income and population increase. Estimates of energy consumption forecast the U. S. reserves of oil at nine years, gas at twelve years, and coal at six hundred years. The energy crisis points out the pressing need to import such energy resources as oil and natural gas to supplement our reserves.
The energy crisis is singularly significant for the Southeastern United States since this area is in the latter stages of transition from an agrarian to an industrial economy with rapidly accelerating energy demands. Coupled with energy needs is the nationwide demand for large quantities of bulk raw materials. The steady decline in U. S. resources suggests the need for bulk ore imports at an increasing pace to meet national needs. The projected requirements for increased energy resources and raw materials necessitate larger capacity vessels.
Ships of 250,000 to 500,000 dead weight tons cannot use existing shallow coastal ports without considerable dredging and relocation of natural and man-made obstacles with the concomitant environmental effects. It is generally agreed that U. S. ports cannot be dredged to depths necessary for super ships without severely affecting the environment. The economic aspects of protecting the environment in such an effort are staggering.
If the United States is to retain its current world industrial position, it will have to provide the facilities to compete with countries that, by virtue of nature or by construction, have deep draft port facilities.
Future U. S. world trade will depend to a considerable degree on the development of the capability in the Gulf of Mexico to handle super vessels requiring berthing and channel depths, when fully loaded, of at least 110 feet. Without such a deep water facility, the U. S. will be unable to compete successfully in the world market.
An alternative offsetting the disadvantages of deepening current port facilities, is the Superport concept: the development of an off-shore facility in sufficient water depth to allow on-loading and off-loading of supertankers and bulk ore and commodity carriers. A Superport capability will take advantage of economies of scale, thereby reducing overall transportation costs and ultimately the cost to the consumer of various commodities. Such a port could vary in configuration from an off-shore monobuoy to an island type facility.
Initially the Superport would take the form of a single point mooring system or monobuoy. The monobuoy allows for varying weather conditions, such as wind and current changes, by allowing the tanker to swing around the buoy. The typical monobuoy consists of a large buoy which is anchored to the sea bottom, floating hoses to connect the supertanker with the buoy, and hoses to connect the buoy to a submarine pipeline which goes to the shore. The monobuoy is equipped with battery-powered navigation lights, radar reflectors and foghorns. Monobuoy systems are being used presently in about 150 locations around the world.
The Superport concept for the Gulf is one of regional and national scope having significant positive impact on the coastal and a multitude of interior states. An analysis of those factors which should determine the location for a Superport leads to the conclusion that the ideal site is best determined from the point of view of the greatest national utility.
It was with this conclusion in mind that AMERAPORT · not a local port, but a Superport to serve the Nation · was conceived. From the AMERAPORT concept came the AMERAPORT Corporation. It is the purpose of the AME RAPORT Corporation to express and support the view that an Eastern Gulf location off the Alabama-Mississippi coast best fulfills the AMERAPORT concept.
This was, and continues to be, a difficult task because an Eastern Gulf location was not given consideration in various agency studies until the emergence of the AMERAPORT Corporation. This is the case, even though considerable research toward locating a Superport in the Gulf of Mexico had been accomplished. The AMERAPORT Corporation also has provided a vehicle for a unified effort by Alabamaians from all parts of the State, north, south, east and west, to insure continued economic growth of the State.
AMERAPORT Corporation emerged in an almost mature and fast-changing environment. It had to adapt quickly. The purpose of this report is to chronicle the progress of that adaptation, present the current status of AMERAPORT Corporation's efforts and project what lies ahead.
The economic well-being of the individual states is reflected in the prosperity of the Nation. AMERAPORT Corporation recognizes this relationship and has established its objectives accordingly. Primarily, its objective is to improve the economic well-being of the State of Alabama. Secondly, it seeks to increase the economic development of the Eastern Gulf tier states and the Tennessee-Tombigbee impact states. Thirdly, it seeks to relieve the energy 'crunch' of the Northeast. And finally, it seeks to provide alternatives to improve the future energy supply-demand situation of the Nation. The Corporation is convinced that improvement of the Alabama economy will contribute significantly to a financially healthy region and, in turn, a prospering Nation. Thus, the AMERAPORT Corporation has dedicated itself to these ends.
To be realistic, the AME RAPORT Corporation must of necessity limit the scope of its efforts. With this in mind the AMERAPORT Corporation has established the following initial scope of operations:
Establishment of an off-shore deep water terminal for
Development of oil refineries in Alabama and the
Development of petro-chemical and other related secondary industries in Alabama and the AMERAPORT impact states.
Provision of a new and viable petroleum supply for the
By limiting itself to attainable objectives with a well defined scope of operations, the AMERAPORT Corporation is assured of effectively and economically utilizing its resources. The AMERAPORT Corporation must continue to utilize its resources in this manner even though much has been accomplished; and, as the following pages will show, there is also much more to be done.
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