US energy firm AES is joining forces with Canada’s Seaspan to provide LNG as fuel for vessels from the Costa Norte LNG terminal in Panama.
In that regard, the two firms signed a memorandum of understanding last week, according to a statement by Seaspan.
This collaboration is mainly aimed at providing LNG bunkering services to shipping vessels crossing the Panama Canal, as well as exploring options to provide this and similar services in regional markets within the area of influence of the AES-owned LNG terminal in Colón, Panama, it said.
In 2021, AES became the sole owner of Panama’s first LNG import terminal in Colon, following the sale of Inversiones Bahia’s stake in the complex that includes a power plant.
AES also recently agreed to sell a 10 percent stake in the facility to Grupo Linda.
The project came online in 2018 and the terminal’s 180,000-cbm LNG tank reached commercial operations in 2019 allowing Panama to become a regional LNG distribution hub.
Costa Norte LNG terminal gets upgrade
Currently, AES is expanding the LNG terminal with a new ship loading facility, while Seaspan will provide a small-scale bunkering vessels.
This will allow the commercialization of LNG as marine fuel from the second half of 2024, according to Seaspan.
The ship loading facility will enable the terminal to provide cool down services, temporary storage and reloading, and refueling for bunkering and regional distribution.
Seapan said the Costa Norte terminal will enable the delivery of stored LNG to be used both for LNG supply, as marine fuel for the growing fleet transiting the Panama Canal, and for emerging markets in neighboring countries.
China’s Nantong CIMC Sinopacific Offshore & Engineering is building three 7,600-cbm LNG bunkering vessels for Seaspan.
The vessels will have 112.8 meters in length, 18.6 meters in width, 5 meters in draft, and a design speed of 13 knots.
CIMC SOE will deliver the first two ships in 2024 and the third in 2025.
Seaspan ULC is a group of Canadian companies that are primarily involved in coastal marine, transportation, bunker fueling, ship repair, and shipbuilding services on the West Coast of North America.