Tenaska NG Fuels LLC (TNG Fuels) and Waller Marine Inc. have agreed to develop and operate Louisiana's first natural gas liquefaction and fueling facility along the New Orleans-Baton Rouge corridor of the Mississippi River with access to the Gulf of Mexico, the companies said Tuesday.

Eyeing a 2017 start for the project, the partners are viewing a broad market of marine, transportation and oil/gas exploration/production (E&P) customers. Officials with the companies said the project is still in the development phase.

The partners are touting their location for the project as strategic. It includes 80 acres at the Port of Greater Baton Rouge, near major highway traffic thoroughfares and high-horsepower industries, for which the operating company, Tenaska Bayou LNG, will provide liquefied natural gas (LNG) and compressed natural gas (CNG) as alternative fuels.

There is an abundance of high-horsepower marine, transportation and natural gas/oil E&P companies in the region, and the numbers are projected to grow,  the companies stressed.

A year ago, Omaha-based independent energy provider Tenaska created TNG Fuels as a marketing/development company to provide natural gas for the transportation and industrial sectors, both CNG and LNG (see Daily GPI, Oct. 4, 2013).

Separately, Waller Marine has been actively developing regional markets through its LNG development subsidiary, Waller LNG Fueling (Baton Rouge) LLC.

TNG Fuels' parent company, Tenaska, will provide equity for the project and will be the managing partner and commercial leader, a spokesperson for the company said. Tenaska will also coordinate project development and construction.

"Leveraging its natural gas pipeline and downstream logistics expertise, Tenaska also will be responsible for gas supply and commodity risk management," the spokesperson said.

A start up for the project in the first quarter of 2017 is possible, the companies said, if all of "the technical and commercial aspects of the project can be confirmed." The proposed facility would open with an initial capacity of producing 200,000 gal/d of LNG with the capability of "quickly expanding," the spokesperson said.

“The project is in the development phase,” said Doug Lauver, Tenaska’s LNG vice president. “Key activities during this phase include securing all applicable permits and refining/finalizing the project design (and associated costs.)

“The project also needs to advance conversations with several key customers. Customer response to date has been outstanding.” Lauver expects this phase to be completed by mid-2015.

The partners are counting on the proposed project's proximity to Interstate 10 and Highway 190 corridors to provide easy access to the growing LNG-fueled heavy truck market, while simultaneously providing LNG to the marine industry, which is faced with meeting stricter emission standards.

The plant will have access to Class 1 rail adjacent to the property and tractor-truck fueling facilities of LNG trucks, as well as loading facilities for transporting LNG via tanker truck. A dock will be constructed for mooring of LNG bunker barges to give the marine industry access to LNG fuel (see Daily GPI, June 30).

Lauver credited Waller Marine with identifying the site location, saying it "couldn't have been better." The project has "multimodal advantages, a value credited to Waller Marine's inroads and experience in the industry," Lauver said.

Waller CEO David Waller said the project "stands ready to assist the North American marine, transportation and high-horsepower [E&P] industries' transition to... natural gas fuel."