Pilot LNG, Seapath plan to build $150 million US bunkering facility

Houston-based Pilot LNG is joining forces with Libra Group’s maritime unit Seapath to build what they say is the first dedicated LNG bunkering facility in the US Gulf Coast.

In that regard, the two firms have formed a joint venture to develop, construct, and operate the LNG bunkering facility in the Galveston Bay area.

The two firms said in a joint statement that they will initially invest about $150 million in the LNG bunkering facility and they expect to launch operations in mid-2026.

Pilot and Seapath did not provide much information in the statement regarding the bunkering facility which will provide fuel for LNG-powered vessels in the greater Houston/Galveston area of Texas.

According to Pilot LNG’s website, the Galveston LNG bunker port will have a capacity of 300,000 gallons per day of LNG.

FID in 2024?

The two firms said that this is the first in a series of planned strategic investments as they plan to create a network of LNG facilities in areas of unmet need in the US.

Pilot LNG and Seapath plan to continue their ongoing front-end engineering and design development for their projects in the third and fourth quarters of 2023 to file applications with the necessary federal and state agencies to permit, site, construct, and operate the small-scale LNG terminal.

The two firms anticipate announcing the final investment decision (FID) details of their LNG bunkering project by the second half of 2024.

Jonathan Cook and Shaun Davison founded Pilot LNG in mid-2019. Prior to that, Cook co-founded US FSRU player Excelerate Energy and also led the Norwegian shipping firm Flex LNG.

Pilot LNG has been working to develop the $500 million Galveston LNG bunkering project with floating liquefaction technology developed by China’s Wison.

The project includes a 148 meters long non-propelled liquefaction unit with a capacity of around 0.5 mtpa and a C type tank with a storage capacity of 18,000 cbm.

However, the firm has not provided any updates regarding the project since 2021.

“Seapath is dedicated to investing across the marine infrastructure space and will provide strong financial backing to Pilot’s LNG bunker projects,” Cook said in the statement.

“We look forward to working with Seapath in delivering this facility in a timely manner based on the extensive development work already completed. This project will meet the significant needs for LNG fuel, which also supports ongoing decarbonization across the marine industry,” he said.

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