Crowley Signs LNG Bunkering Agreement with ExxonMobil, Eagle LNG

Illustration of Crowley’s new LNG-powered Commitment-Class vessels. Credit: Crowley Maritime Corp.

Jacksonville-based Crowley Maritime Corporation has signed a collaboration agreement with ExxonMobil and Eagle LNG Partners for the development of liquified natural gas (LNG) as a marine fuel.

The goal of the agreement is to establish the storage and technical support necessary to provide safe, reliable LNG delivery for vessel operators bunkering in North America. The partners have agreed to initially focus their efforts in Florida before expanding to other North American markets.

A Memorandum of Understanding outlining the agreement was signed by all parties on June 27, 2017. Under the agreement, ExxonMobil will provide its technical support and expertise to help carry out safe bunkering operations and sell LNG bunker fuel to vessel operators. Eagle LNG Partners will supply the LNG and will design, build and operate small-scale production and storage facilities as well as coordinate land-based LNG transportation. Crowley will provide bunker logistics and ensure safe and reliable operations.

“The Memorandum of Understanding is another major step forward in developing LNG as a marine fuel. It will leverage the specialist knowledge and expertise of ExxonMobil, Eagle LNG Partners and Crowley to the benefit of vessel operators bunkering in North America,” said Luca Volta, LNG Venture Manager at ExxonMobil. “This agreement provides additional opportunities for vessel operators looking to adopt LNG as a marine fuel.”

The decision by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to introduce a global 0.50 percent sulfur cap on vessel emissions in 2020 will impact bunker fuel selection. The parties believe that the marine industry is heading for a multi-fuel future that will include low-sulphur options, with LNG an important part of that mix.

Later this year, Crowley will introduce the first of two new LNG-powered combination container and roll-on/roll-off vessels known as the Commitment class. The vessels, which are being built by VT Halter Marine in Pascagoula, Mississippi, will operate in the Jones Act trade between Jacksonville, Florida and San Juan, Puerto Rico. The second vessel is due for delivery in the first half of 2018.