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Construction Starts on Crowley’s Second LNG-Powered Ship

VT Halter Marine, Inc. has started construction on Taíno, the second of two LNG powered, combination container – Roll-On/Roll-Off ships according to Crowley Maritime Corp. VT Halter Marine and Crowley entered into a contract for the pair of ships in November 2013 and construction began on the second ship with the first steel plate cutting in Pascagoula, Mississippi yesterday.

“This is a momentous occasion in the history of the company and in the Commitment Class build program,” said John Hourihan, senior vice president and general manager, Puerto Rico liner services. “Like our customers, we have been waiting with great anticipation for construction to begin on the Taíno, and we look forward to the day in the near future that they will begin service between the U.S. mainland and Puerto Rico. These new ships embody superior technology, and will offer enhanced performance and safety while setting new standards for environmentally responsible shipping.”

The Commitment Class ships have been designed to maximize the carriage of 53-foot, 102-inch-wide containers, which offer the most cubic cargo capacity in the trade. The ships will be 219.5 meters long, 32.3 meters wide (beam), have a deep draft of 10 meters, and an approximate deadweight capacity of 26,500 metric tonnes. Cargo capacity will be approximately 2,400 TEUs (20-foot-equivalent-units), with additional space for nearly 400 vehicles in an enclosed Ro/Ro garage. The main propulsion and auxiliary engines will be fueled by LNG. The ship design was provided by Wartsila Ship Design in conjunction with Crowley subsidiary Jensen Maritime, a Seattle-based naval architecture and marine engineering firm.

“We are pleased and proud to be building these superb ships for Crowley. Crowley is an outstanding company and a leader in the industry and we are delighted to be partnering with them on these cutting edge vessels," said Jack Prendergast, chief executive officer, VT Halter Marine.

GE Capital, Canada and Shell Agree to Facilitate LNG Trucking

GE Capital, Canada announced today the signing of a commercial agreement with Shell Canada Products with a view to facilitate the trucking industry's adoption in Canada of liquefied natural gas as fuel.

Under this agreement, GE Capital and Shell will work together to reduce monthly payments for truck fleets that lease natural gas vehicles. Specifically, fleets owners can sign natural gas fueling contracts with Shell and separately secure leases for LNG vehicles with GE Capital. The agreement covers equipment that will purchase fuel from Shell's facilities.

GE Capital has been providing wholesale and retail financing to the country's commercial trucking sector for 35 years.

"Through this agreement, we're giving over-the-road trucking companies the financial incentive to make the shift from diesel to natural gas," said Francois Nantel, leader of GE Capital, Canada's transportation business. "Working with Shell will help address truck operators' concerns regarding the trucks' value and incremental capital investments and allow them to access the benefits of LNG vehicles from day one."

GE Capital has been providing wholesale and retail financing to the country's commercial trucking sector for 35 years.

Clean Energy Subsidiaries to be Renamed Under the Clean Energy Brand

Clean Energy Fuels Corp. announced today that its wholly-owned subsidiaries, IMW Industries, NorthStar Inc. and Clean Energy Renewable Fuels have been renamed and redefined as divisions of Clean Energy Fuels Corp. IMW Industries is now Clean Energy Compression, NorthStar is now Clean Energy Cryogenics and CERF is now Clean Energy Renewables.

“The strategic importance of unifying our divisions under a single Clean Energy mark and brand identity cannot be understated. This move will strengthen our reputation and broaden our recognition as well as eliminate any confusion for our customers and other partners,” said Andrew J. Littlefair, president and CEO, Clean Energy.

Clean Energy Fuels noted in a statement the name changes affect brand-identity, but will not change operational practices, management infrastructure or business objectives.

Clean Energy Compression, formerly IMW, is a North American manufacturer of non-lubricated gas compressors and related technologies and sells quality compressors in over 25 countries.

Clean Energy Cryogenics, formerly NorthStar, is an engineering and construction team responsible for building over 70% of the United States network of turnkey LNG/LCNG private fleet fueling stations.  

Clean Energy Renewables, formerly CERF, operates biomethane processing facilities in Tennessee and Michigan and is a marketer of renewable natural gas including Redeem®, a RNG for commercial vehicles.

The transition to the new names will begin immediately.

Power Train Technologies to Distribute GFS EVO-MT Systems in Chile

GFS Corp, maker of the EVO-MT Systems, that allows large mine haul trucks to operate on a combination of LNG and diesel fuel, today announced the appointment of Power Train Technologies as its Master Distributor in Chile.

"We are pleased to partner with Power Train Technologies to bring our EVO-MT technology to the Chilean mining sector. As a major mining power and with two large LNG import terminals in the country, Chile is well positioned to benefit from the increasing global trade in LNG by displacing more expensive diesel fuel", said George Aguilera, Executive VP of GFS Corp. 

GFS Corp offers conversions systems for four truck models, Caterpillar 777 and 793 as well as the Komatsu 830 and 930.  GFS noted converted Caterpillar and Komatsu trucks have been in daily operation at mines in the western United States successfully accumulating tens of thousands of hours of run time while allowing significant fuel cost savings and improved sustainability to the operators. 

"We are very excited to add the EVO-MT Systems to our portfolio of solutions and to be a part of the GFS family. Both our companies are in the business of offering our customers solutions that tackle operational costs and carbon footprint and that's exactly what this partnership is about, " said Alex Gildemeister, General Manager of Power Train Technologies. 

UGI Energy Services to Build LNG Plant in Pennsylvania

UGI Energy Services announced yesterday plans to build a liquefied natural gas production facility in northern Pennsylvania that will utilize Marcellus Shale gas.

The proposed facility will be adjacent to UGI Energy Services’ Manning natural gas compression station located in Wyoming County, Pennsylvania. Natural gas will be supplied by its Auburn gathering system, which transports Marcellus Shale gas produced from local wells to major interstate pipelines serving markets in the Mid-Atlantic region. UGI Energy Services noted the LNG plant, which will include both liquefaction and local storage, is expected to be in full commercial operation by early 2017 and have the capability of producing 120,000 gallons of LNG per day. The total capital investment will be approximately $60 million according to UGI Energy Services.

UGI Energy Services, through its wholly owned subsidiary UGI LNG, Inc., currently owns and operates the Temple LNG facility located near Reading, Pennsylvania. The proposed new facility in Wyoming County will effectively double UGI’s liquefaction capability and increase its LNG supply diversity.

Brad Hall, President of UGI Energy Services, commented, “The market for liquefied natural gas continues to grow thanks to its affordable cost and environmental benefits when compared to other petroleum products. As a result, truck fleets, oil and gas drilling rigs and remote industrial users not tied to the natural gas grid continue to switch to LNG. In the coming years, we also expect the use of LNG to increase in marine, rail, and mining applications.”

UGI Energy Services markets natural gas, electricity and liquid fuels to approximately 19,000 residential, commercial, industrial, institutional and government customers at approximately 43,000 locations in nine states and Washington, D.C. In addition, it stores and delivers natural gas and generates electricity.

LNG America Agreement with Scandrill for Drilling Operations

LNG America announced today it has signed a joint marketing agreement to provide a comprehensive solution for LNG-fueled drilling operations in the Gulf Coast region with Scandrill.  Scandrill is a Texas based drilling contractor with 17 rigs located in New Mexico, Louisiana, and the Permian Basin.

According to LNG America the Scandrill relationship will provide operators with the opportunity to drill their prospects with state of the art drilling equipment fueled economically by clean burning natural gas.

“We are very pleased to be working with LNG America to provide natural gas for our drilling rigs,” said Paul Mosvold, President and CEO of Scandrill. “In today’s pricing environment it is very important that we continue to find ways to lower costs for operators while maintaining the highest efficiency and also improving environmental emissions. Scandrill partnered with Caterpillar to field test one of the first innovative prototype Caterpillar, DGB (Dual Gas Blending) systems which has given us unique knowledge.”

Under the agreement LNG America and Scandrill will jointly seek out operators that are ideally situated to take advantage of Scandrill’s state-of-the-art equipment and LNG America’s expertise in LNG’s application as a fuel in the high-horsepower engine market.

Gaz Métro LNG to meet peak demand starting in winter 2018

Gaz Métro announced last week the application filed by Hydro-Québec Distribution with the Régie de l'énergie, which plans to use liquefied natural gas from Gaz Métro's existing plant to meet peak demand for electricity starting in winter 2018.

“This innovative solution involves allowing the TransCanada Energy (TCE) power plant in Bécancour, which has not produced electricity for several years now, to become a strategic tool for meeting the needs of Quebecers during very cold spells, by supplying it with LNG for the equivalent of approximately 100 hours a year,” explained Stéphanie Trudeau, Vice President, Strategy, Communication and Sustainability at Gaz Métro. “We are pleased that natural gas that will be liquefied in our Montréal plant can play a judicious and economical role in responding to complex, occasional energy supply issues,” she continued.

With this project, Gaz Métro, through its subsidiaries, would supply, build and operate an LNG storage and vaporization site close to the TCE power station in order to supply the natural gas required to generate electricity during winter peak demand periods. Gaz Métro will supply the LNG through its subsidiary Gaz Métro LNG, in which Investissement Québec is a shareholder. The construction of an additional liquefaction train is currently underway at Gaz Métro's liquefaction, storage and regasification (LSR) plant. The new LNG capacities will be available as of 2016.

“By using the existing infrastructure of the Gaz Métro LSR plant and of the TCE plant, we are making it possible to reliably and efficiently manage Hydro-Québec's electrical power demand as of winter 2018–2019—a need that has been recognized by the Régie de l'énergie,” added Ms. Trudeau.

Crowley Construction Contract in Puerto Rico

Crowley Puerto Rico Services, Inc. announced today that it has further solidified its commitment to Puerto Rico with the execution of a $48.5 million construction contract for a new pier at its Isla Grande Terminal in San Juan, Puerto Rico. In conjunction with the investment, the company and the Puerto Rico Ports Authority (PRPA) have also concluded a 30-year lease extension for the Isla Grande property.

Crowley noted the construction contract was awarded to L.P.C.& D. Inc., of Las Piedras, Puerto Rico, and includes the development of a new 900-foot-long by 114-foot-wide concrete pier and all associated dredging needed to accommodate Crowley’s two new liquefied natural gas powered, Commitment Class ships. Crowley’s terminal expansion plans also include the installation of three new ship-to-shore container gantry cranes, which will be supplied under a separate contract.

“This is a great day for Crowley and the people of Puerto Rico, and a critical next step in our nearly $500 million re-investment in the Puerto Rico trade lane,” said Jose “Pache” Ayala, Crowley vice president, Puerto Rico. “This important project represents close collaboration between private business and PRPA to make a major investment in the infrastructure of Puerto Rico. We are very excited to choose a Puerto Rico-based construction company who will utilize workers on the island and keep the money in the local economy.”

Vessel with DNV GL’s new GAS READY class notation named

Barzan, the first in a series of six 18,800 TEU container vessels ordered by UASC, was recently named at Hyundai Samho Heavy Industries (HSHI) in Mokpo, South Korea.

The vessel is the first to receive classification society DNV GL’s new GAS READY notation. Her five sister ships, as well as eleven 15,000 TEU vessels of UASC’s newest eco-ship generation, will be given the GAS READY notation as well according to DNV GL.

According to DNV GL, the DNV GL class notation GAS READY demonstrates that the vessel is in compliance with the gas fuelled notation rules, that structural reinforcements to support fuel containment system (LNG tank) have been verified, that the main engines installed can be converted to dual fuel and that the auxiliary engines installed can be operated on gas.

Barzan, the largest vessel in UASC’s fleet to date, and all of the other 16 vessels in the current new building program, have been designed and constructed with the vision of undertaking a quick and cost efficient retrofit to LNG at a later stage according to DNV GL.  

“We are proud to help realize the world’s greenest ultra-large container vessel in close cooperation with UASC,” said Henrik O. Madsen, Group President and CEO of DNV GL. “Due to the trust placed in our expertise on alternative fuels, we implemented the ‘LNG ready’ concept with UASC as an industry first, and are honored that these next-generation ships are now also the first to receive DNV GL’s Gas Ready Notation. UASC acted as a pioneering customer that aims to even further reduce CO emissions through conversion to gas fuel operation when the bunker infrastructure is ready.”

DNV GL noted next to the LNG readiness, Barzan and her sister vessels incorporate several innovative energy saving methods, including a Waste Heat Recovery System (WHRS). This converts thermal energy from the exhaust gas from the main engines into electrical power to maximize the efficiency of the system.

dnv gl gasready LNG

Above: Naming ceremony of Barzan on 29th April at Hyundai Samho Heavy Industries in Mokpo, South Korea. The DNV GL classed vessel will operate on the Asia-Europe trade (Photo: Courtesy of UASC)

American Power Group Dual Fuel Solution Used in Bakken

American Power Group Corporation announced today that its largest oil field drilling and service company customer who has converted over 50 prime power engines to American Power Group’s dual fuel solution is currently operating drilling rigs for four different end customers utilizing American Power Group's Fueled By Flare™ dual fuel solution in the Bakken region of North Dakota. The customers were not disclosed for proprietary reasons but American Power Group noted these four companies are among the top 10 oil and gas exploration and production companies in the United States.

Lyle Jensen, CEO of American Power Group said, "Over 70% of APG's dual fuel stationary oil rig conversions in North America are operating on conditioned wellhead/flared gas in applications such as drilling, fracking, pumping, air compression and mobile lighting towers. The Bakken region of North Dakota is an area facing significant penalties and restrictions associated with the flaring of their wellhead gas.”

Jensen added, "Based on data obtained thus far, our customers estimate a potential aggregate net monthly fuel savings of between $40,000 and $60,000 per drilling rig when utilizing APG's dual fuel solution and conditioned wellhead/flared gas. As the idling of rigs across the United States appears to be slowing down, drilling service companies as well as their E&P customers are now focusing their efforts on cost reduction and improving operating efficiencies of active drilling rigs which makes our Fueled By Flare™ dual fuel solution the perfect complement to these efforts."

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