LNG marine use is heating up

Interest in liquefied natural gas use in the marine industry continues to grow. With a cheap abundant supply of LNG in the U.S., many feel it’s just a matter of time before it takes off as a major source of fuel for workboats.

In his remarks this week in Chicago at the 2013 American Society of Transportation and Logistics Annual Conference, William P. Doyle, commissioner of the Federal Maritime Commission, discussed how LNG is “increasingly gaining traction” as a source of marine fuel in the U.S.

Doyle cited the well-known pluses of natural gas such as its abundance, and environmental and economic benefits. But he also talked about how the U.S. and the Obama administration are “embracing the concept of LNG as a marine fuel.” The Department of Transportation is sponsoring a demonstration project using a container ship that will be repowered to use LNG. The Maritime Administration is also funding research for LNG fuel transfer, infrastructure and training. The research is scheduled for completion in 2014.

We are well aware of LNG vessel construction projects by Harvey Gulf and others, but highlighting it at the ASTL conference and similar venues can only help foster LNG growth in the commercial marine industry.

Doyle not only mentioned Harvey Gulf’s construction of six dual-fueled OSVs at Gulf Coast Shipyard Group (formerly TY Offshore), but he also mention projects by Ocean Tug & Barge Engineering Corp., Seabulk Tankers, Washington State Ferries and others.

OTBE announced recently that it had been selected to design a new high speed, LNG-fueled articulated tug-barge container carrier for Minyan Marine LLC. It will reportedly be the world’s first LNG-powered ATB. The barge will be outfitted with a set of LNG fuel tanks adjacent to the tug notch and will have a barge-to-tug LNG fuel transfer system.

But to foster this growth, Doyle said, “there needs to be an adequate supply of fuel sources.”

Doyle mentioned Waller Marine’s LNG bunkering project at the Port of Baton Rouge, La. Harvey Gulf and Edison Chouest have also announced they are constructing LNG fuel supply operations in the Gulf.

Concluded Doyle: “This sector is blossoming before our eyes and I am sure that there are many more projects on the horizon.”

I think so too.


About the author

David Krapf

David Krapf has been editor of WorkBoat, the nation’s leading trade magazine for the inland and coastal waterways industry, since 1999. He is responsible for overseeing the editorial direction of the publication. Krapf has been in the publishing industry since 1987, beginning as a reporter and editor with daily and weekly newspapers in the Houston area. He also was the editor of a transportation industry daily in New Orleans before joining WorkBoat as a contributing editor in 1992. He has been covering the transportation industry since 1989, and has a degree in business administration from the State University of New York at Oswego, and also studied journalism at the University of Houston.

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