Panama Canal Eyeing LNG Import Terminal

Test of the new locks began this week on the Atlantic side of the canal. Photo: ACP
Test of the new locks began this week on the Atlantic side of the canal. Photo: ACP

 

The U.S. Trade and Development Agency on Friday awarded a grant to the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) to support the planning of a liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminal that would help the ACP capitalize on the growth of LNG tanker traffic through the expanded Panama Canal.

“The U.S. Government is very pleased to partner with the Panama Canal Authority through this USTDA grant as the ACP looks to develop a LNG import terminal in the coming years to take advantage of the Canal expansion project,” said Chargé d’Affaires Kevin M. O’Reilly, who signed the grant agreement along with ACP Administrator/CEO Jorge L. Quijano.

“As we near the completion of the Panama Canal Expansion, we are eager to explore new segments such as LNG, which are now possible given our enhanced capacity to accommodate longer and wider ships. This grant by the USTDA will build on plans and projects related to LNG that are already ongoing and will present us with the ability to evaluate additional market opportunities and client services for the benefit of the U.S.-Panama energy trade,” said Quijano.

The USTDA-funded feasibility study will help the ACP set strategic priorities and plan projects related to LNG infrastructure and natural gas utilization at the Panama Canal. The LNG terminal is anticipated to support the implementation of maritime- and energy-related projects that will accommodate increased shipping traffic through the expanded Canal.

The expanded Panama Canal’s new locks will allow the transit of larger ships and open up the canal to new market segments, such as Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), for the first time.

The new locks are expected to open in 2016.