Two Houston-based companies said Monday they have agreed to cooperate on the design of a liquefied natural gas (LNG) bunker fuel network for the U.S. Gulf Coast region. LNG America and Buffalo Marine Service Inc. have agreed to collaborate on applications for the high horsepower marine market.

LNG America is developing a “hub-and-spoke delivery system” for LNG as a transportation fuel in the marine market and other high horsepower applications. The goal is a “robust delivery infrastructure” linking all the major ports in the Gulf region, said a company spokesperson. Buffalo Marine is a major bunkering company in the region with more than 50 vessels in operation.

The agreement is designed to build on the synergy of what LNG America calls Buffalo Marine’s “logistical, commercial and administrative expertise with bunkering operations” and LNG America’s experience with LNG as a fuel in the high horsepower markets.

“The combination will help us to provide the best possible service to emerging LNG fueled marine customers while using the best safety practices available from both industries,” said LNG America CEO Keith Meyer.

And Buffalo Marine’s President Patrick Studdert said there is a “unique opportunity for shippers” to get a “cost-effective, plentiful and extraordinarily clean fuel.”

The agreement follows earlier announcements related to the budding market for LNG in Gulf Coast marine transportation.

Tenaska NG Fuels LLC and Waller Marine Inc. agreed at the end of September 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 (see Daily GPI, Sept. 30).

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