Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Jensen Maritime to Design LNG Bunker Barges

By Mark Edward Nero

Naval architecture and marine engineering company Jensen Maritime, a Seattle-based subsidiary of Crowley Maritime Corp., has been awarded a contract to design some of the first liquefied natural gas (LNG) bunker barges in the US.

Crowley will perform the work for LNG America, a Houston-based LNG fuel supply and distribution company. Currently, there are no LNG bunkering barges in operation in American waterways; 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.

“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 US Gulf that hope to replace their traditional vessels with cleaner, more efficient LNG-powered ones,” Jensen Vice President Johan Sperling said.

The vessels, which are expected to be delivered in late 2015, have an initial planned capacity of up to 3,000 cubic meters of LNG. Once in operation, the bunker barges will move LNG from LNG America’s Louisiana supply source to coastal-based storage and distribution terminals and in directly bunkering large ships.

Jensen says it first produced prototype designs for LNG vessels in 2008 and that it has also developed designs for a 100-foot by 40-foot LNG tugboat, and is currently working on several other prototype designs of LNG bunker vessels, harbor tugs, ATBs, container ships and tankers, along with inland vessels.

LNG America was formed in July 2013 to develop LNG distribution infrastructure to serve the marine market as well as the burgeoning use of LNG in the oil and gas, rail, mining and heavy-duty trucking markets. The markets have emerged because of the fuel’s price competitiveness as a result of an abundance of US natural gas reserves.

“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,” LNG America CEO Keith Meyer said.