Seapath and Pilot LNG Back LNG Bunkering Terminal in Galveston Bay

LNG carrier photo
Courtesy Seapath

Published Sep 28, 2023 12:57 PM by The Maritime Executive

The Galveston Bay area is set to get its first dedicated LNG bunkering facility within a few years' time, thanks to a new joint venture between two experienced maritime infrastructure partners.

LNG terminal specialist Pilot LNG and Seapath, a Libra Group company, will invest $150 million in the construction of an LNG bunkering terminal to serve one of the busiest port regions in the United States. It is the first in a series of investments by Pilot and Seapath to build out a network of LNG bunkering facilities in U.S. ports.

“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."

LNG dual-fuel vessels represent a growing share of the merchant fleet. According to DNV, as of the end of 2022 there were more than 350 LNG-powered vessels in operation and more than 500 more on order. The surge is a recent change: a record 240 orders were placed in 2021 and another 222 last year. The increase in LNG dual-fuel container ship, car carrier and cruise ship orders has been particularly pronounced. 

Pilot LNG and Seapath are in the front-end engineering and design development phase for the Galveston Bay terminal, and they plan to apply for federal and state permits in the third and fourth quarter of 2023. Operations at the new plant are scheduled to begin in mid-2026. 

“Adoption of more sustainable fuels is critical to future-proofing our industries against a rapidly changing ecosystem. We will continue to support the transition to greener energy solutions, and we look forward to following Seapath’s work to evolve the U.S. maritime industrial sector," said Manos Kouligkas, CEO of Libra Group.