Two former Excelerate Energy executives are behind a Houston-based start-up that plans to develop an LNG bunker terminal based on FLNG technology in Galveston, Texas
Houston-based Pilot LNG has filed regulatory applications to develop Galveston LNG Bunker Port. Located on Pelican Island, the facility infrastructure will be designed around floating LNG (FLNG) technology to be engineered and constructed by Pilot LNG’s partner, Wison Offshore & Marine. Wison Offshore is the builder behind Tango FLNG, the FLNG vessel that operates in Bahia Blanca, Argentina, allowing the country to begin exporting LNG in 2019. Tango FLNG has a nameplate capacity of 0.5 mta of LNG. Pilot LNG’s FLNG vessel will use similar technology.
FID for the project is expected in H2 2021, with operations starting in 2024.
Pilot LNG chief executive Jonathan Cook, co-founder of Excelerate Energy and its one-time chief operating officer and ex-Flex LNG CEO, said Galveston LNG Bunker Port would “provide clean-burning LNG to one of the US’s largest port complexes.” Mr Cook’s co-founder of Pilot LNG is Shaun Davison, who serves as its chief development officer. Mr Davison and Mr Cook have extensive experience with floating storage and regasification units (FSRUs), LNG shipping, terminals and other parts of the LNG supply chain. Mr Davison most recently served as NextDecade senior vice president of development and regulatory affairs.
Pilot LNG told LNG Shipping & Terminals that the Galveston LNG Bunker Port expects to load LNG onto LNG bunker vessels similar to Q-4000 or Clean Jacksonville operating out of Florida. “The US Jones Act bunker barges will be the vessels then running to the cruise ships or other vessels requiring LNG bunkers in Galveston Bay,” said Pilot LNG. Galveston is home to the fourth busiest cruise port in the US, and the cruise shipping industry has been an early adopter of LNG as a fuel.
Pilot LNG expects to benefit from using FLNG technology as the basis of Galveston LNG Bunker Port. By building the FLNG vessel in a shipyard – a major component of the terminal – Pilot LNG expects to have significantly lower capex as compared with a similar capacity onshore LNG bunker terminal.
As outlined by Pilot LNG, the boxed-shaped FLNG vessel would have a length of 148 m, beam of 32 m, depth of 21 m, with a design draft of 6 m. Permanently moored, the vessel would have a liquefaction capacity of 0.5 mta, with storage of 18,000 m3 in an IMO Type C tank.
“Wison is pleased to be part of this breakthrough US project by designing and building the liquefaction unit that will supply LNG to the end-user market in the Galveston, Houston and Texas City port complex”, said Wison Offshore & Marine in North America head Vivian Li. “Since delivering the world’s first FLNG facility currently operating in Argentina, Wison has developed numerous floating solutions across the LNG value chain, with a focus on promoting a cleaner energy infrastructure alternative to the global market.”
As international regulators tighten emissions standards, the maritime industry is increasingly turning towards LNG as the marine fuel to comply.
When used as a marine fuel, LNG significantly reduces vessel emissions, including eliminating virtually all SOx emissions and particulate matter, while reducing NOx emissions by 80%-90% compared to traditional fossil marine fuels.
Pilot LNG’s Galveston facility would be the first LNG bunkering facility in Texas and second such facility on the US Gulf Coast. Harvey Gulf International Marine operates an LNG bunkering facility in the Port of Fourchon, Louisiana.
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