The Port of New Orleans and Cleancor Energy Solutions LLC have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to develop liquefied natural gas (LNG) fueling services for ships in the port.

small-scale lng

Cleancor, which distributes small-scale LNG and compressed natural gas, would work with the port to provide the super-chilled fuel for bunkering. The port would provide the company with data, logistics, customer contacts and marketing support. 

“Our mission is to accelerate the adoption of low carbon fueling solutions and this constitutes an exciting opportunity to not only advance the region’s first such project, but also to contribute to the decarbonization of the maritime sector,” said Cleancor CEO Jeff Woods.

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Port officials said Cleancor would work to educate its customers and other local stakeholders about the environmental and financial benefits of LNG bunkering. The MOU would also help to develop bunkering infrastructure that aligns with the port’s long-term planning. 

In addition, Cleancor would provide LNG bunkering options that are compatible with forecasted customer demand in the port and help it obtain federal, state and other regulatory authorizations to develop necessary infrastructure. 

The port also is seeking grants to help incentivize the use of LNG as a marine fuel. It would also work with Cleancor to attract customers and others that already use LNG as a marine fuel. 

A proposed expansion outside St. Bernard Parish in Louisiana to build a $1.5 billion container terminal is also expected to support the LNG bunkering initiative. The port’s expansion is aimed at handling rising container volumes and attracting more international container business. 

Demand for LNG bunker fuel is growing, particularly among shipowners overseas. International regulators have tightened emissions standards, and the maritime industry has increasingly turned to LNG as a fuel source because of its lower emissions profile and cost competitiveness. The International Maritime Organization has established the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from shipping by at least 50% by 2050 compared to 2008, and many LNG-fueled ships are expected to be produced going forward.

LNG bunkering infrastructure is expanding as shipowners look to displace dirtier fuels. LNG can now be delivered to vessels at 96 ports across the world. Another 55 ports are in the process of facilitating LNG bunkering investments and operations, according to the trade group SEA-LNG. 

The Gulf Coast’s first dedicated LNG bunkering port is advancing off Pelican Island, TX, in Galveston Bay. Only one tank-to-ship bunkering service is in operation in the United States at Port Fourchon in Louisiana, according to SEA-LNG. Others are being developed in California, Florida, New York and Washington.