Photo: Puget LNG

Puget on track for Tacoma LNG launch in 2021

Puget Energy’s LNG unit still expects to fire up its liquefied natural gas facility in the Port of Tacoma on the US West Coast next year.

Puget on track for Tacoma LNG launch in 2021
Image: Puget LNG

Washington-based Puget Energy is the parent company of both state energy utility Puget Sound Energy and Puget LNG, which are building the $310 million facility.

Puget LNG says the plant located south of Seattle is almost complete with only some electrical and instrumentation work remaining.

“We are still on track for starting the plant in the first quarter of 2021,” the facility’s developer said.

Works on the facility’s loading jetty, located at the bottom of the image above, reached completion.

Puget claims this is the first LNG marine bunkering pier on the west coast of North America.

The facility has a maximum flow rate of 2,640 gallons per minute or 600 cubic meters per hour, according to the developer.

This jetty will fuel TOTE Maritime’s converted Orca class vessels serving the shipping route from Tacoma to Alaska.

Puget also worked with Crowley Maritime on building a bunkering barge that would load the fuel at the jetty.

The barge would supply LNG via a ship-to-ship method to cruise vessels and other maritime customers in the region.

Besides the pier, the LNG plant features two truck loading bays. Puget already secured customers by signing a supply deal with Potelco and InfraSource Services earlier this year.

Under the deal, Puget will supply over 1 million gallons of LNG per year to the duo that operates a fleet of more than 220 trucks.

LNG bunkering but also domestic supply

The Tacoma plant connects to the Williams Northwest Pipeline sourcing natural gas from Canada’s British Columbia.

Once completed, it will have a liquefaction capacity of 225,000 gallons per day and a storage tank that can hold 8 million gallons of LNG.

The facility will not only serve as an LNG bunkering hub but will also cater to domestic demand supplying Puget Sound Energy’s customers.

About 6 to 8 million gallons will be set aside to provide gas to residential and commercial customers during winter’s peak demand.

Tote’s contract calls for about 900,000 gallons of LNG each week for its two vessels.

The facility has about 875,000 gallons of uncontracted production capacity that will eventually go to other transportation customers.

Puget started building the Tacoma plant in 2016 but it faced several permitting hurdles and a backslash from a local tribe and environmental groups.

The project secured its final approval last year paving the way for the company to finally launch the facility.

The facility will be joining a growing number of LNG bunkering projects in the US aimed at slashing shipping emissions.

At the global scale, the LNG fueling industry has seen a notable rise over the years as infrastructure became more available and shipowners started to opt for LNG-powered vessels.

DNV GL data shows that there are at least 185 LNG-powered vessels in operation around the globe and additional 212 on order.

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