Jensen wins contract to design LNG bunker barges

FEBRUARY 24, 2014 — Jensen Maritime, Crowley Maritime Corp.'s Seattle-based naval architecture and marine engineering company, has been awarded a contract to design some of the first liquefied natural gas (LNG) bunker barges in the U.S. for customer LNG America LLC, a Houston-based LNG fuel supply and distribution company.

LNG America has an agreement in principle with Cheniere Energy to secure LNG from the Sabine Pass LNG facility in Cameron Parish, LA, and says it will have the capability to distribute LNG in the greater U.S. Gulf Coast region by the end of 2015 and will expand to other regions as commercial agreements are completed.

LNG America will own or control the logistics infrastructure, including LNG bunker vessels, tanker trucks, storage, and loading facilities, necessary to deliver highly reliable, cost competitive LNG to marine and terrestrial customers.

Currently no LNG bunkering barges are in operation in American waterways and these vessels will be among the first to be developed and built, marking a significant step in LNG America's build-out of LNG bunkering infrastructure along the U.S. Gulf Coast and in delivering a new clean fuel to the maritime industry.

The vessels, which are expected to deliver in late 2015, have an initial planned capacity of up to 3,000 cubic meters of LNG.

Once in operation, the bunker barges will serve the dual purpose of moving LNG from LNG America's Louisiana supply source to coastal-based storage and distribution terminals and in directly bunkering large ships.

"Through LNG America's LNG bunkering initiative, we plan to serve and facilitate the growing marine demand for LNG," said Keith Meyer, CEO of LNG America. "LNG America sees the demand for marine LNG to be robust as long as LNG can be made available to the maritime industry on a reliable, dependable and cost-competitive basis. Our mission is to deliver competitively priced LNG as fuel where needed, when needed and in the quantity needed."

"The significance of this agreement is not only incredible news for the marine industry, which struggles with whether to develop LNG infrastructure or vessels first, but also for companies along the U.S. Gulf that hope to replace their traditional vessels with cleaner, more efficient LNG-powered ones," said Jensen's Johan Sperling, vice president. "We are thrilled to be working with LNG America in the development of its marine infrastructure and also in providing a green fuel source to this important region. Jensen is on the leading edge when it comes to LNG vessel design and we look forward to serving LNG America and other customers with this valuable service."

Jensen first produced prototype designs for LNG vessels in 2008. Additionally, Jensen has developed designs for a 100 ft x 40 ft LNG tugboat and is currently working on several other prototype designs of LNG bunker vessels, harbor tugs, ATBs, containerships and tankers, along with inland vessels for a variety of customers in the U.S.

LNG America was formed last July to develop LNG distribution infrastructure that serves not only the marine market but the burgeoning use of LNG in the oil and gas, rail, mining and heavy-duty trucking markets as well. These markets have emerged due to the fuel's price competitiveness resulting from the abundant U.S. natural gas reserves.