U.S. LNG first to pass through expanded Panama Canal
The 161,870-cbm Maran Gas Apollonia, chartered by the Hague-based LNG giant Shell, will be the first LNG tanker to transit the newly expanded Panama Canal connecting the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.
The Greek-flagged LNG tanker is scheduled to transit through the canal on July 25, a spokesperson for the Panama Canal Authority confirmed to LNG World News on Wednesday.
Maran Gas Apollonia will be carrying a cargo from Cheniere’s Sabine pass liquefaction plant, the first of its kind to export U.S. shale gas to overseas markets.
The LNG carrier is currently docked at the Sabine Pass facility in Lousiana, according to AIS data provided by the vessel tracking website, MarineTraffic.
LNG World News contacted Shell for a comment regarding the shipment. We will update the article if we receive a response.
BP’s 135,500-cbm British Merchant, that was previously expected to be the first LNG vessel to transit the expanded canal, is scheduled to transit the new locks on July 26, carrying a cargo from Trinidad and Tobago to Mexico.
A third LNG tanker is expected to transit the canal in early August, the spokesperson confirmed without providing additional information.
The expanded Panama Canal was inaugurated late June with the passage of Neopanamax vessel COSCO Shipping Panama.
The expanded canal will be able to accommodate about 90% of the world’s current LNG tankers. Only the Q-Flex and Q-Max tankers used for exports from Qatar, will not be able to use the canal.
“The expansion has significant implications for LNG trade, reducing travel time and transportation costs for LNG shipments from the U.S. Gulf Coast to key markets in Asia and providing additional access to previously regionalized LNG markets,” the U.S. EIA said in a recent report.
Currently, about 9.2 Bcf/d of U.S. natural gas liquefaction capacity is either in operation or under construction in the United States.
By 2020, the U.S. is set to become the world’s third-largest LNG producer, after Australia and Qatar, according to the EIA.
LNG World News Staff