Photo: Courtesy of Puget Sound

Puget LNG, GAC tie up on bunkering barge development

Puget LNG and GAC Bunker Fuels have signed a memorandum of understanding to cooperate in the supply and sale of LNG marine fuel from Puget LNG’s terminal to GAC’s customers in the Pacific Northwest.

Puget Sound Energy’s LNG Terminal in the Port of Tacoma
Courtesy of Puget Sound

When the Tacoma LNG Terminal becomes operational in the second quarter of 2021, it will be the first such terminal on North America’s west coast providing direct shoreside loading access for a bunker barge.

A DNV GL study commissioned by Puget LNG on the feasibility of a bunker barge to supply LNG as fuel to ships in the Puget Sound area concluded that the availability and cost of natural gas, especially in North America, has made the use of LNG an attractive solution for ship operators to comply with air emissions regulations.

A growing order book for LNG-fueled vessels has underlined the need to develop LNG supply infrastructure in all major shipping ports and regions, including the Pacific Northwest.

“Partnering with GAC Bunker Fuels is another way Puget LNG is working to create a clean energy future for all as its sister company, Puget Sound Energy, has set an aspirational goal to be a Beyond Net Zero Carbon company by 2045,” said Blake Littauer Puget LNG Director. “PSE is targeting to reduce its own carbon emissions to net-zero and go beyond by helping other sectors enable carbon reduction across the state.”

GAC Bunker Fuels, a division of the Dubai-based GAC Group, will issue a Request for Proposal (RFP) for a Jones Act-compliant LNG bunker barge to be constructed, owned, and operated by a third party. The barge would have the flexibility in size and design to serve multiple shipping customers and is expected to be operational in 2023.

Loading from Puget LNG’s terminal in Tacoma, the barge will be able to bunker vessels in port. GAC will extend credit terms to shipping companies that purchase fuel on both contract and spot basis.

GAC Bunker Fuels secured a deal to supply LNG as a marine fuel last year, having provided brokerage and ship agency services to the Fure Ven which was the first non-U.S. flagged vessel to receive LNG in a U.S. port.

The company also entered into a Heads of Agreement with Houston-based Pilot LNG for LNG marine fuel to be delivered ex-ship for its customers in the ports of Houston, Texas City, Galveston and Galveston Offshore Lightering Area.