Puget LNG and GAC Bunker Fuels have signed a memorandum of understanding to cooperate in the supply of liquefied natural gas (LNG) marine fuel from Puget LNG’s terminal to GAC’s customers in the Pacific Northwest.
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.
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.
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.”
Nicholas Browne, GAC Bunker Fuels’ Global Director, said, “This exciting foray into the Pacific Northwest with Puget LNG is the latest expansion of our footprint in the U.S., adding to GAC’s growing LNG fuel portfolio.”
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.
“We have less than ten years to meet the greenhouse gas reduction targets set by the International Maritime Organization for 2030,” adds Nicholas. “Right now, LNG is the alternative fuel with the greatest potential and biggest following. GAC Bunker Fuels can help our customers and suppliers meet these targets by providing them with cleaner, cost-effective marine fuels like LNG. This dovetails with our own sustainability strategy, which we are pursuing with fervor and commitment.”