A British Columbia (BC) liquefied natural gas (LNG) dealer has recruited a Japanese trading house to help market LNG as a marine fuel at North America’s Pacific Northwest ports.  

Cryopeak LNG Solutions Corp., an arm of BP Energy Partners LLC in the Vancouver, BC, suburb of Richmond, said a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for the sales drive has been signed with Tokyo-based Sumitomo Corp.

The agreement expands a marketing effort that started with an MOU that Cryopeak signed in July with Island Tug & Barge Ltd. The MOUs call for LNG transport by a high-volume floating fueling service known as ATB, short for articulated tug and barge configuration.

“Offering a safe and efficient LNG bunkering solution is critical to the adoption of LNG as a marine fuel to the shipping industry,” said Cryopeak CEO Calum McClure.

Cryopeak’s system is advancing through design stages on a schedule that calls for deliveries to start in 2023 from a jumbo barge capable of carrying 4,000 cubic meters, or roughly 1 million gallons of LNG.

The LNG marketing program responds to tightening environmental regulation of ocean shipping that has established tight limits on sulphur emissions. 

Sumitomo has an LNG fueling vessel on order for deliveries in Tokyo Bay starting in 2021. Japan’s trading houses date back hundreds of years and have diverse businesses ranging from foods and chemicals to energy and infrastructure. They have significant holdings in the global LNG value chain. 

As a fuel service arm of BP Energy Partners, Cryopeak operates 16 Canadian tankers that serve an expanding coastal and inland market for LNG. The network has demonstrated capability to handle growing delivery volumes and distances.

From a northern BC supply base at Fort Nelson, Cryopeak made a record 18,000-gallon LNG delivery in July across Canada’s Northwest Territories with a 3,729-kilometer (2,237-mile) tanker truck trip to Inuvik on the Mackenzie Delta.