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An illustration of the Rio Grande LNG’s 984-acre facility courtesy Port of Brownsville/NextDecade

An illustration of the Rio Grande LNG’s 984-acre facility courtesy Port of Brownsville/NextDecade

Four Tugs Ordered to Serve Massive Rio Grande LNG Export Facility in South Texas

Mike Schuler
Total Views: 3824
September 7, 2023

Gulf LNG Tugs has signed construction contracts with Master Boat Builders and Sterling Shipyard for each to construct two tugs to serve the Rio Grande LNG export facility in Brownsville, Texas.

Gulf LNG Tugs is a joint venture between Bay-Houston Towing Co., Moran Towing Corporation and Suderman & Young Towing Company, set up to provide tug services for RGLNG under a long-term Tug Services Agreement.

“Both shipyards stood out for their experience, capabilities, and price competitiveness, and we’re excited to continue our partnership with these shipyards,” said Kirk Jackson, Gulf LNG Tugs’ partnership representative.

The tugs will be designed by naval architect Robert Allan Ltd and meet U.S. Coast Guard Sub-M regulations, with firefighting capabilities to meet the ABS Fire Fighting Class 1 classification. The main propulsion engines are Caterpillar 3516 E, complying with EPA Tier-4 emission standards. The new tugs will have an overall length of 98.5 feet, beam of 42.7 feet, and a bollard pull of 80 metric tonnes.

Located at the Port of Brownsville, Texas, Rio Grande LNG is the largest proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) export facility in the United States. At full capacity, Rio Grande LNG will produce 27 million metric tonnes of LNG for export. The project includes a large carbon capture and storage component that will aim to capture and permanently store over 5 million metric tonnes of CO2 per year, reducing carbon emissions by over 90%.

Its developer, Houston-based NextDecade Corporation, in July announced an $18.4 billion final investment decision to construct the first three liquefaction trains at the facility. Later that month, Great Lakes Dredge & Dock was given a Notice to Proceed for improvements to the Brownsville ship channel, which entails deepening the 17-mile-long Brownsville ship channel from 42 to 52 feet, developing two ship berths, and enhancing commercial navigation into and out of the Port of Brownsville so LNG carriers can safely access the Rio Grande facility.

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