U.S. LNG-Fuelled Fleet Growing
There are fewer than 10 ocean-capable, U.S.-flagged LNG-fueled ships, at present, but at least eight are set to be launched over the next three years, reports the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
Two weeks ago, the Harvey Gulf International Marine delivered its third offshore supply vessel fueled by LNG. These three U.S.-flagged ships and North America's first LNG marine fueling terminal, which Harvey Gulf opened in January 2016 at Port Fourchon, Louisiana, are part of a larger plan by Harvey Gulf to grow its LNG-fueled fleet. The company is currently constructing three additional LNG-fueled vessels, each with a 78,000 gallons LNG fuel tank, enough for up to 15 days of operations.
The existing fleet includes ships from General Dynamics NASSCO, in San Diego. General Dynamics has built two primarily LNG-powered container ships for TOTE Maritime. As part of the two-ship contract signed in December 2012, the 764-foot long Marlin Class container ships are the largest dry cargo ships yet powered by LNG. On January 9, 2016, TOTE Maritime Puerto Rico successfully loaded LNG bunkers on board the first LNG powered container ship, MV Isla Bella.
General Dynamics is also under contract to convert two of TOTE's diesel-powered vessels to run on LNG.
Additionally, there are several ships designed to be LNG-conversion-ready. This option allows companies to put off investing in potentially expensive onboard LNG storage capacity until fueling infrastructure is more widely available in the United States.
Among plans for LNG-ready ships are General Dynamics's five-ship building campaign for American Petroleum Tankers (APT), with all five vessels designed to be LNG-conversion-ready. On May 19, the yard delivered the Magnolia State to APT. The Magnolia State is the second of a five-tanker contract between NASSCO and APT, which calls for the design and construction of five 50,000 deadweight ton, LNG-conversion-ready product carriers with a 330,000 barrel cargo capacity. The 610-foot-long tankers are equipped with a new “ECO” design, which provides a 33 percent fuel efficiency improvement compared to product tankers built only a few years ago.
Philly Shipyard has built three of four LNG-ready tankers for Crowley Maritime. The Louisiana, the third was delivered in April. The 600-foot tanker has a carrying capacity of 14.5 million gallons of crude oil or refined products. The remaining product tanker for Crowley is currently under construction and has a planned delivery in the third quarter of 2016.
The yard also has four new product tankers for APT underway that include designs "with consideration for the use of LNG for propulsion in the future." On May 18, the yard held a keel-laying ceremony for the second tanker. When completed in 2017, the 600 feet long vessel will be capable of carrying 50,000 tons of crude oil or refined petroleum products. The tankers are based on a proven Hyundai Mipo Dockyards design.