NOVEMBER 13, 2012—Liquefied natural gas has sparked strong interest as a marine fuel because of the abundance of natural gas, relatively low price and attractive environmental performance. One challenge is the ready availability of liquefied natural gas (LNG). Houston-based Waller Marine, Inc., however, is working towards a solution. Through its LNG development subsidiaries, Waller Energy Holdings, LLC and Waller LNG Services, LLC, it is developing a natural gas liquefaction (LNG) facility on a 175-acre site the at the entrance point of the Calcasieu Ship Channel in Cameron Parish in Southwest Louisiana. It is the first of seven planned small-scale LNG terminals that will be cited around the U.S. coast.
Using small-scale liquefaction technology, Waller Marine plans to install nominal 500,000 gallon per day LNG trains in phases as the market and demand for marine LNG fuels inevitably expands. The first trains are planned for the Waller Point LNG terminal in Cameron Parish, and additional trains are planned for a second terminal that it is developing through its subsidiary Waller Energy Partners, LLC, at a site to be secured on the Mississippi River in the first quarter of 2013.
WALLER MARINE DEVELOPS LNG BUNKER VESSELS
With the looming regulatory requirement for vessel’s to comply with new Emission Control Area (ECA) emission control regulations when operating in the territorial waters of the United States, the Waller Marine’s focus is to supply LNG to the marine fuels market. To enable the supply and distribution of LNG to and from small scale LNG terminals and for bunkering LNG as a marine fuel, Waller has also conceived and designed a series of small LNG vessels ranging from its 2,000 to 10,000 cubic meter capacity river transport and bunker barges and its 10,000 to 30,000 cubic meter coastwise ATB LNG vessels. Image below shows Waller Marine’s 30,000 cubic meter ATB LNG RV bunker barge. As we previously reported, Waller’s innovative concepts are patent pending before the USPTO, and Waller has recently acquired Approval in Principle from the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS).
U.S. vessel owners are faced with increasing costs of operations as the ECA regulations drive decisions on how they should comply; one, by installing exhaust gas scrubbers or two, by using expensive ultra-low sulfur fuels. A third and more cost-effective alternative that will permit compliance with emissions is the use of LNG to fuel their vessels.
Waller Marine says with strategically located LNG supply facilities, a distribution of the fuel by Waller barges to small-scale LNG storage terminals combined with ship fueling with Waller LNG bunker barges at anchorages, ports and terminals throughout the U.S., vessel owners will have access to competitively priced LNG. Waller anticipates that substantial savings can be achieved by vessel owners using LNG fuels with payback for conversion costs being as short as six months. Waller has also initiated a vessel conversion strategy and is working with partners on providing funding for the conversion of ships to be fueled by LNG. Working with engine manufacturers and equipment suppliers, Waller is engineering shipboard LNG fuel storage and supply systems for vessels having a range of horsepower. They are also developing pre-manufactured systems to reduce or eliminate downtime during conversion.