US-based Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding has started building Crowley’s large LNG bunkering barge that will go on charter to a unit of energy giant Shell.
Fincantieri Marine Group’s yard, which is the US division of Italian Fincantieri, said in a statement this week it cut the first piece of steel in Sturgeon Bay on January 6.
According to Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding, this is the largest LNG bunkering barge ever built in the US and the biggest Jones Act-compliant vessel of its kind.
It expects to deliver the barge in late 2023.
Crowley Maritime and Shell NA LNG revealed this project in September last year. The 126.8 meters long vessel will have a capacity of 12,000 cbm.
Shell will take the barge, the company’s second in the US after the Q-LNG 4000, on a long-term charter.
Moreover, Shell’s unit will use the vessel to fuel LNG-powered ships that call on ports on the US East Coast starting in 2024.
The new barge will add to a growing fleet of LNG bunkering vessels in the US.
Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding recently delivered the first LNG bunkering barge to NorthStar’s Polaris New Energy.
Also, the 5,400-cbm barge Clean Canaveral will source the fuel from JAX LNG, a production facility in Jacksonville. NorthStar and Pivotal LNG run the facility jointly.
Besides this bunkering barge, Oaktree Capital Management-backed NorthStar has ordered another LNG bunkering barge at Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding. This new 5,500-cbm ship would be a sister vessel to the LNG bunker barge Clean Canaveral.