Crowley and Shell partner for largest Jones Act LNG bunker barge
Crowley Maritime and Shell have announced their intention to work together to build the world’s largest Jones-Act compliant LNG bunker. The vessel, which will be built at Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, is part of ongoing efforts to expand the LNG bunkering fleet to meet the rapid growth of LNG as an alternative fuel for large ocean-going vessels.
The 416-foot-long barge, which is expected to enter service in 2024, will have a capacity of 12,000 m3 (3.17 million gallons) of LNG and is designed to meet a wide range of needs to serve ocean carriers. Crowley Maritime will own the vessel and has entered into a long term charter agreement with Shell for the operation of the LNG bunker barge.
“This barge supports our commitment to help provide our customers with the energy solution they are looking for,” said Tahir Faruqui, Managing Director, Global DLNG for Shell. “The shipping industry is moving towards decarbonization, and LNG offers immediate emission reductions with the potential to become a net zero emission marine fuel given the possible roles of bio-LNG and synthetic LNG. “
LNG is currently the fastest growing segment of the alternative fuels market for ocean-going vessels. In its maritime forecast to 2050 released yesterday, DNV indicated that 12% of the current global order book is for fuels. alternatives, with LNG accounting for half of the orders. The report highlights: “Twenty years after the introduction of LNG as a fuel, there are more than 500 (as of June 2021) LNG-fueled ships in service and on order, not counting LNG carriers. Data from DNV indicates that there are currently around 220 LNG-fueled vessels in service worldwide, with 354 more on order.
Orders and deployment of LNG bunkers have increased rapidly to meet the demands of shipowners and operators. Currently, 31 LNG bunkers are in operation, including 11 in the United States, according to DNV, with more than 20 additional bunkers on order.
“Orders for liquefied natural gas-fueled vessels continue to rise,” said Tucker Gilliam, vice president of Crowley Shipping. He noted that the new US bunker vessel “will provide Shell with an innovative and reliable service to meet the demand for more sustainable energy sources”.
The newly ordered vessel will be equipped with advanced technology for increased cargo handling capabilities and transfer rates. According to Shell and Crowley Engineering Services, they have also developed an advanced solution to flexibly deliver LNG to various types of LNG containment systems.
The vessel will become the second Jones-compliant bunker barge owned by Shell on a long-term charter to the United States. It is expected to be deployed to service LNG-fueled ships calling at ports on the U.S. east coast from 2024.
Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding is currently building another LNG barge for another customer. This vessel is expected to be delivered later this year.