Pilot LNG partners up with Seapath for Galveston Bay LNG bunkering hub

Written by Nick Blenkey
Galvesub LNG bunkering facility

Pilot LNG released this image when it first announced plans for a Galveston Bay LNG bunkering hub.

Houston-based Pilot LNG LLC is moving ahead on its plans for a Galveston Bay LNG bunkering hub. It has now formed a joint venture with Seapath, a maritime subsidiary of the Logothetis family’s New York City headquartered Libra Group, to develop, construct, and operate the facility.

With operations set to begin mid-2026, the new facility will be the first in the Galveston Bay area to provide fuel for LNG-powered vessels. With an initial investment of approximately $150 million, Pilot and Seapath will use their combined expertise to serve the needs of a major U.S. trade corridor. According to the Greater Houston Partnership, the Greater Houston waterways generated over $906 billion in economic value to the U.S. in 2022. The Greater Houston area was named the top U.S. port by tonnage in a 2023 report by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

This is the first in a series of planned strategic investments by Seapath and Pilot to create a network of LNG facilities in areas of unmet need in the U.S.

“Seapath is dedicated to investing across the marine infrastructure space and will provide strong financial backing to Pilot’s LNG bunker projects,” said Jonathan Cook, CEO of Pilot. “We look forward to working with Seapath in delivering this facility in a timely manner based on the extensive development work already completed. This project will meet the significant needs for LNG fuel, which also supports ongoing decarbonization across the marine industry.”

Seapath was formed to respond to the need for critical investments in the U.S. maritime economy. In addition to the Galveston LNG bunkering facility, the company plans to invest strategically in innovative projects within maritime industrial facilities and U.S. Jones Act vessels. It is one of three Libra Group maritime subsidiaries, the others being Americraft Marine, which owns and operates St. Johns Ship Building in Palatka, Fla., and Lomar Shipping, a global shipping company with a fleet of more than 40 vessels

“The infrastructure under development will provide LNG to a growing market seeking cleaner marine fuel, particularly as customers look for economical ways to comply with tightening emissions regulations, including regulations set by the IMO in 2020,” said Seapath CEO Greg Otto. “We are pleased to be working with a first-class team in Pilot and with some of the leading ports in the United States to bring this critical LNG bunkering infrastructure to the Gulf Coast region where there is high demand for it. Thanks to our valuable partnership with Pilot, we look forward to developing more of these much-needed facilities in ports across the United States.”

Pilot and Seapath plan to continue their ongoing front-end engineering and design development in the third and fourth quarters of 2023 and to file applications with the necessary federal and state agencies to permit, site, construct, and operate the Galveston Bay LNG bunkering hub. They anticipate announcing the Final Investment Decision (FID) details of their project by the second half of 2024.

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