US shipyards to build Rio Grande LNG tugs

Gulf LNG Tugs of Brownsville has signed contracts with two US yards for the construction of four tugboats which will serve NextDecade’s Rio Grande LNG export facility in Texas.

Gulf LNG Tugs of Brownsville is a joint venture formed by Bay-Houston Towing, Moran Towing, and Suderman & Young Towing to provide tug services for RGLNG under a long-term tug services deal.

Following a bid process and in consultation with RGLNG, the JV selected Alabama-based Master Boat Builders and Texas-based Sterling Shipyard to each construct two tugs, according to a joint statement.

The partners did not reveal the price tag of the contract.

Each shipyard will construct two Z-Tech 30-80 tugboats designed by naval architect Robert Allan Ltd.

These tugs represent a proven workhorse in Gulf Coast ports, where affiliates of Gulf LNG Tugs already operate 10 of the same hull design, the statement said.

Also, the tugboats will be classed by ABS, while the main propulsion engines are Caterpillar 3516 E, complying with EPA Tier-4 emission standards.

Main engines are connected to Schottel SRP 510 FP-Z drives fitted with 2.8-meter propellers.

The new tugboats will have an overall length of 98.5 feet (30 meters), beam of 42.7 feet (14.5 meters), and a bollard pull of 80 metric tonnes.

Additionally, each will be equipped with firefighting capabilities.

NextDecade took a final investment decision in July on the first three trains of its Rio Grande LNG export project in Texas and completed $18.4 billion project financing.

It awarded the $12 billion EPC contract to Bechtel.

Phase 1, with nameplate liquefaction capacity of 17.6 mtpa, has 16.2 mtpa of long-term binding LNG sale and purchase agreements.

These include deals with TotalEnergies, Shell, ENN, Engie, ExxonMobil, Guangdong Energy Group, China Gas Hongda Energy Trading, Galp, and also Itochu.

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