Ground was recently broken for the first phase of a liquefied natural gas (LNG) fueling facility in Port Fourchon, LA, that its developer claims would be the first of its kind in the country, providing LNG to fuel marine operations in the region.

The Harvey Gulf International Marine (HGIM) facility will serve the oil and gas industry's offshore fleet as well as over-the-road vehicles operating on LNG. The facility will consist of two sites each having 270,000 gallons of LNG storage capacity. Each facility will be able to transfer 500 gallons of LNG per minute.

HGIM announced the project last June (see Daily GPIJune 13, 2013).

"Today's milestone represents another significant step in the path for Harvey Gulf to establish itself as the nation's leader in utilizing LNG as a marine fuel. HGIM is investing $350 million in the construction of a LNG-operated fleet, said HGIM CEO Shane Guidry.

Separately on Monday, Jensen Maritime, a Seattle-based unit of Cowley Maritime Corp. said it was awarded a contract to design some of the first LNG bunker barges in the United States for customer LNG America LLC, a Houston-based LNG fuel supply and distribution company.

“Currently, no LNG bunkering barges are in operation in U.S. waterways and these vessels will be among the first to be developed and built, marking a significant step in LNG America’s buildout of LNG bunkering infrastructure along the U.S. Gulf Coast and in delivering a new clean fuel to the maritime industry," Jensen Maritime said.

The vessels, which are expected to be delivered in late 2015, have an initial planned capacity of up to 3,000 cubic meters of LNG. Once in operation, the bunker barges will serve the dual purpose of moving LNG from LNG America's Louisiana supply source to coastal-based storage and distribution terminals and in directly bunkering large ships.

"Through LNG America's LNG bunkering initiative, we plan to serve and facilitate the growing marine demand for LNG," said LNG America CEO Keith Meyer. “LNG America sees the demand for marine LNG to be robust as long as LNG can be made available to the maritime industry on a reliable, dependable and cost-competitive basis."

LNG America was formed last July to develop LNG distribution infrastructure that serves not only the marine market but the use of LNG in the oil and gas, rail, mining and heavy-duty trucking markets as well.

Late last year Crowley commissioned construction of two of the world's first LNG-fueled combination container and vehicle transport ships to provide shipping and logistics services between the United States mainland and Puerto Rico (see Daily GPINov. 27, 2013).