The barge will have capacity to carry 4,000 cubic meters of LNG and is the first of its kind to be based in the U.S. Shell plans to deploy the ocean-going LNG barge to supply fuel to marine customers along the southern East Coast of the U.S.
"Our commitment in the Americas builds on Shell's existing LNG bunkering activities in Singapore and Europe, as well as recently announced plans in the Middle East and gives us the ability to deliver LNG as a marine fuel to customers around the world," Maarten Wetselaar, director of Integrated Gas and New Energies at Shell, said.
Singapore Technologies Engineering has been contracted via its subsidiary VT Halter Marine for engineering services and detailed functional designs for the LNG Bunkering ATB unit. The ATB tug will have two GE 6L250 MDC EPA Tier 4-compliant main engines, the barge is designed to carry 4,000 cubis metres of LNG.
Harvey Gulf to operate
The LNG bunker barge is designed to offer high efficiency and manoeuvrability and will feature an innovative transfer system enabling it to load LNG from big or small terminals and bunker a variety of customers.
“More ship owners and operators are choosing cleaner-burning LNG fuel over traditional marine fuels to respond to sulphur and nitrogen oxide emissions regulations, including the International Maritime Organization's (IMO) recent decision to implement a global 0.5% sulphur cap in 2020,” a spokesperson for Shell commented.
Q-LNG Transport will build and own the new barge while Harvey Gulf International Marine will operate it. Q-LNG is 30%-owned by Harvey Gulf International Marine with the remainder owned by CEO Shane Guidry personally.
Cruise line demand for LNG increasing
While the new bunker barge will be designed to supply a range of LNG-fuelled ship, Shell reports that it will particularly focus on meeting “growing cruise line demand” for the fuel.
North American cruise line operators such as Carnival, MSC Cruises and Seaspan have been amongst the earliest adopters of the fuel, partly driven by the need to reduce emissions while idling in port for long periods of time.
“This investment in LNG as a marine fuel for the US will provide the shipping industry with a fuel that helps meet tougher emissions regulations from 2020,” Wetselaar added.