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R. C. (Red) Bamberg
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.