Harvey Gulf International Marine, New Orleans, opened what it calls the first marine liquefied natural gas fueling terminal in North America, when it bunkered its own Harvey Energy, the first American LNG-fueled vessel in a class of six 310’x64’ 5,200 dwt offshore service vessels.

Harvey Gulf inaugurated the LNG terminal at its operating base in Port Fourchon, La., by competing the first bunkering of the Harvey Energy there with the transfer of 43,000 gals. of fuel in about two hours and 15 minutes, according to company officials.

The terminal is designed to meet the regulatory requirements of 33 CFR part 127 NFPA 59A, and deliver LNG at a pumping rate of 550 gmp. The total on-site storage is approximately 270,000 gals., contained in three 90,000 gals. USG type “C” vacuum insulated tanks.

"This is a testament to Harvey Gulf's commitment to promoting the use of LNG, a clean, abundant, and cost-effective alternative marine fuel,” Shane Guidry, Chairman and CEO of Harvey Gulf, said in a prepared statement announcing the terminal opening. “With the completion of our LNG terminal at Port Fourchon, we are able to provide a LNG bunkering point at the epicenter of marine operations for the Gulf of Mexico, which is vital to continuing the shift to LNG as a marine fuel.”

Most LNG bunkering operations at the moment are done by tanker trucks delivering fuel at dockside, but plans are underway for other permanent LNG fueling terminals. TOTE Maritime, which owns the world’s first LNG fueled containerships, the 764’ Isla Bella and Perla del Caribe, is looking to develop terminal facilities at Jacksonville, Fla., and Tacoma, Wash.

Chad Verret, executive vice president in charge of Harvey Gulf’s Alaska and LNG operations, says easier maintenance, longer intervals between overhauls, and cleaner engines and boats were all part of the company’s decision to commit to building an LNG-fueled fleet – along with the promise of long-term lower fuel costs with gas.

In 2014 the company partnered with the Rhode Island-based U.S. Maritime Resources Center to create a comprehensive LNG training program for mariners, which to date has graduated 110 students from basic and advanced classes.

The Harvey Energy and sister ship Harvey Power were named the top 2015 Significant Boats by WorkBoat magazine for their innovative LNG design. Both vessels are under charter to Shell to support the oil major’s Gulf of Mexico assets.