Shell to open 2 LNG plants in the U.S

3/11/2013

Shell to bring two LNG plants online by 2016
By Greg Grisolano, Land Line staff writer
Shell will build two plants dedicated to supplying liquefied natural gas for heavy truck and transport shipping use.

Shell, one of the largest gas producers in the U.S., will build the facilities in Geismar, LA, along the Mississippi River south of Baton Rouge, and in Sarnia, Ontario, on the southern shore of Lake Huron just east of Michigan.

The company says each plant will be able to produce 250,000 tons per year of LNG, roughly 400,000 gallons per day, according to spokeswoman Destin Singleton.

From our perspective, it’s important that there is production specific for transport, and that it’s dedicated production,” she told [I]Land Line[/I]. “Pending regulatory approvals, they will be producing in about three years. In the meantime LNG could be supplied to our customers from third-party agreements.”

Because the plants are being developed at existing manufacturing sites, Singleton said environmental impact studies were not required.

Natural gas is used as a transportation fuel in some parts of the world, mostly for fleets of vehicles like buses and garbage trucks which use centralized refueling stations. Compressed natural gas is more widely used than LNG, but LNG has proved to be effective for very large trucks that drive great distances.

The process of making LNG involves chilling natural gas to negative 260 degrees so it can be compressed into a liquid and stored in high-pressure insulated tanks. The liquefied form of the fuel can then be loaded onto tankers for transport, where it is shipped to a local processing plant, thawed out to return to its naturally gaseous state, and injected into the local supply.

The facilities are expected to take about three years to complete. Singleton said the company does not disclose the cost of its capital expenditures.

so here’s my question. How is LNG kept aboard a ship or towboat or tractor rig so that it is relatively safe to carry? I mean cryogenic flammable liquids are quite explosive and tends to go boom in a big way in an accident!

Just opens a can of worms for engineering practices (people/training) as well. Think those damn-fangled electroinjection engines are a hassle, how about the regas plant!

Half the guys I’ve worked with have a heart attack thinking about taking bunkers or filling a day tank! The CG is probably dreaming up to crazy “license” too.

[QUOTE=c.captain;102478]so here’s my question. How is LNG kept aboard a ship or towboat or tractor rig so that it is relatively safe to carry? I mean cryogenic flammable liquids are quite explosive and tends to go boom in a big way in an accident![/QUOTE]

Yes sir that is a very good question. From what I am hearing most of the engines are basically duel fuel, having to be started on diesel then switched over to LNG part of the time. A good friend of mine is a technican at Cummins, he is going to be doing some of the install and testing on the new LNG boats Harvey Gulf is building. As I get info from him I will post it to let you know how it is working out. The truck’s that I have read about basically use a double hull fuel tank with insulation between the inner and outer tanks to try to keep the temperature stable and to help prevent something puncturing the inner LNG tank. They also have to have a small diesel tank to start the engine, then switch over to LNG. The trucks using it that I have read about only have a small LNG tank and are very limited on range. Mostly like garbage trucks or buses, and some intermodal trucks that never get far from there home base. I don’t think the infastructure is available yet for over the road use. Maybe in the not so distant future as fueling stations become more common.

I will be real interested to see how the Harvey Gulf boats are set up to store and handle the LNG. Kind of makes me wonder what the coast guard or ABS will have to say about it. There has to be a huge safety factor involved in just storing the amount needed to fuel a large OSV for any lenght of time. LIke z-drive says I wonder if that will be a seperate endorsment on our license soon?

Cryogenic liquified gas carriers ( I include LPG and ammonia tankers in this group, too) have been around without a MAJOR incident, if I recall correctly. I do remember the concern about LNG back in the late 70’s/early 80’s (including a novel written by a fellow alumni) that kept the plants fairly remote. I also know that just because an incident hasn’t happened only means that it hasn’t happened yet. Using LNG as a fuel will certainly increase risk. Much was said, however, when steam plants, both on land and at sea, moved from coal to oil for fuel.

[QUOTE=cmakin;102510]Cryogenic liquified gas carriers ( I include LPG and ammonia tankers in this group, too) have been around without a MAJOR incident, if I recall correctly. I do remember the concern about LNG back in the late 70’s/early 80’s (including a novel written by a fellow alumni) that kept the plants fairly remote. I also know that just because an incident hasn’t happened only means that it hasn’t happened yet. Using LNG as a fuel will certainly increase risk. Much was said, however, when steam plants, both on land and at sea, moved from coal to oil for fuel.[/QUOTE]

Isn’t LNG much more explosive that LPG?

This was missed by the reporter

Shell added that it has a memorandum of understanding with Edison Chouest Offshore companies (ECO) to supply LNG fuel to marine vessels that operate in the Gulf of Mexico and to provide what is anticipated to be the first LNG barging and bunkering operation in North America at Port Fourchon, Louisiana. The LNG transport barges will move the fuel from the Geismar production site to Port Fourchon where it will be bunkered into customer vessels.

This is scheduled to be completed in 2016.

http://gcaptain.com/shell-to-build-two-lng-fuel-plants-in-louisiana-ontario/

Are those LNG carriers from the 70’s still being re-flagged back into the US Jones Act fleet? I know they used to be AMO/SIU, then they re-flagged them, what, out of the Marshall Islands? And they even kept the US crews around for a while and then they went to all non-American crews (of course), I remember they got a 'waiver" a while back so they could be re-flagged American… I remember SIU and AMO were all happy about that… ANY news or updates on those ships???

I am thinking they are all steamships, BTW…

[QUOTE=SaltySailor;102599]Are those LNG carriers from the 70’s still being re-flagged back into the US Jones Act fleet? I know they used to be AMO/SIU, then they re-flagged them, what, out of the Marshall Islands? And they even kept the US crews around for a while and then they went to all non-American crews (of course), I remember they got a 'waiver" a while back so they could be re-flagged American… I remember SIU and AMO were all happy about that… ANY news or updates on those ships???

I am thinking they are all steamships, BTW…[/QUOTE]

Most LNG tankers are steam ships. They burn the “leak off” from the tanks in the boilers. Free fuel, so to speak. I don’t know about the return of the old US flag LNG carriers back to the US, though.

[QUOTE=cmakin;102611]Most LNG tankers are steam ships. They burn the “leak off” from the tanks in the boilers. Free fuel, so to speak.[/QUOTE]

While older LNG tankers had steam plants, modern ships tend to have either diesel or dual fuel engines as they are much more efficient than traditional boilers and steam turbines. Of course the reliability and availability of a steam plant is much better, but with today’s fuel prices it’s just not economically viable. I guess the DF power plants are still burning boil-off gas, but I don’t think it’s “free” for the shipping company and most of the evaporating cargo is reliquified in the onboard reliquefaction plant.

When it comes to safety, LNG is quite nice as it is combustible in a relatively limited concentration range.

The vapor pressure inside of an LNG tank onboard a ship is just barely above atmospheric (+/- 100mb, depending on many things). The lower the vapor pressure, the colder the cargo stays, less boil off will occur (when LNG boils off, a mixture of warmer LPG remains), which equals more $$$. So vs, for example, a smaller fully pressurized LPG tanker where the vapor pressure can be up to 6 or 7 bar, it is potato potahto if you want to talk about which is more “explosive”. The only real risk I can think of with an LNG tank is the threat of a BLEVE (what happens when a full LP tank is shot with a gun)…since when LNG vaporizes, the vapor is 600 times the volume for the same part…which would really only happen if a ship was hit with a cruise missle or an airplane. No collision, “woopsie daisy” in the CCR, or failure of any part of the system would result in anything more than possibly a small leak on deck, which would just quickly vaporize, or if ignited, burn off.Then again, i’m not sure how LNG bunker tanks are designed…

So what do they use for fuel after they unload their cargo?

Bunker C, like any other steamship.

a little bit of cargo is kept onboard in order to be used for fuel, called “heel”. The charterer assumes we burn +/- 200 cubes per day (natural boil off rate, aka assumed if the ship is just going to be slow steaming to the next port), or 300-320 per day if we need to do full speed to the next port, and have to using the forcing vaporizer to make more gas for fuel. For example, we just discharged in France on March 4th, and had instructions to keep 7,500 cubes onboard, since out next prospective loading is in Egypt on April 5th, slow steaming and doing zig zags the whole time, we should arrive with some extra in the pocket

[QUOTE=edchuckBB;103013]a little bit of cargo is kept onboard in order to be used for fuel, called “heel”. The charterer assumes we burn +/- 200 cubes per day (natural boil off rate, aka assumed if the ship is just going to be slow steaming to the next port), or 300-320 per day if we need to do full speed to the next port, and have to using the forcing vaporizer to make more gas for fuel. For example, we just discharged in France on March 4th, and had instructions to keep 7,500 cubes onboard, since out next prospective loading is in Egypt on April 5th, slow steaming and doing zig zags the whole time, we should arrive with some extra in the pocket[/QUOTE]

Just wondering which ship you are on? Is it US Flagged?

It is a Norwegian company, Norwegian flagged also. GDF Suez (french gas company) did a good job of making sure that the ships they charter, which took some cargos to the US, had some American officers (deck and engine) onboard. There are no US flagged LNG tankers right now…but we will see if that changes with the new liquefication plants being built in the Gulf. I do know that there are a decent amount of American officers on some of the Rasgas/Qatargas ships (mostly SUNY and Texas I think), one guy I talked to a month ago in the med said it was a private, non-union hire. Exmar used to employ some, but I believe that is no more.