September 2020 Vol. 75 No. 9


Puget Sound Energy Creates LNG Bunkering, Supply Facility

Jeff Griffin | Senior Editor

Construction of the first liquified natural gas (LNG) marine bunkering facility on the West Coast is progressing steadily and on track to open in the first quarter of 2021. 

The Puget Sound Energy (PSE) facility at the Port of Tacoma will provide an LNG fuel option for cargo ships converted from bunker oil fueled vessels, and additional gas for peak-load needs.

The facility is jointly owned by Puget LNG (PLNG) and Puget Sound Energy Inc. (PSE), subsidiaries of Puget Energy. TOTE Maritime Alaska is a pioneer in LNG conversion in the United States, retrofitting its Orca Class vessels to run on LNG.

These ships will bunker their fuel at the Puget LNG facility. PLNG will own the portion of the facility serving maritime and other transportation markets, while PSE will own the portion serving the regulated gas customers.

When operational, the plant will have a capacity of 250,000 gallons per day of liquefaction capacity and an 8-million-gallon, full-containment LNG storage tank. Gas will be supplied from the Williams Northwest Pipeline with gas from Northern British Columbia, Canada.

The facility has a marine loading pier that is designed to directly bunker TOTE’s ships. In the future, it will also be able to provide LNG to a bunkering barge or bunkering vessel. The facility also will have two truck loading areas for providing LNG via truck to a variety of customers, both water and land based.

Land and sea

In January, it was announced Puget LNG will provide LGN fuels for the electric and natural gas fleets of construction trucks for Potelco and InfraSource Services.

Updating construction status, Jonathan Harris, Puget LNG senior business development manager, said all mechanical equipment has been placed on the site and the focus is now on electrical and instrumentation installation.

“All major aspects of the plant are complete with the full-containment LNG tank,” Harris said, “with the longest lead-time item being fully complete and under an air purge, ready for the production of LNG to start.

“The team has been focused on operations preparedness at the plant with our co-owners of the plant, Puget Sound Energy. This includes putting in place our LNG plant operations contractor, NAES, who currently is in the process of staffing the team that will operate the plant. That team is also very engaged with TOTE Maritime, our key commercial maritime customer for LNG, preparing for the first bunkering of their ships in early 2021.”

Harris said the plant will be mechanically complete in the first quarter of 2021 and fully commissioned by the end of Quarter 2, 2021.

“We have been extremely lucky to have a great team constructing the plant on site with our EPC contractor, CB&I,” said Harris. “Our project managers were incredibly proactive and prepared to put in place protocols to protect our team through the COVID-19 pandemic. This has allowed us to stay on our construction schedule with minimal delays.”

Puget LNG is proud to have the first marine LNG bunkering pier on the West Coast, concluded Harris.

“The LNG plant,” he said, “will be a key supply point for LNG in the region and will allow more customers to benefit from the ability to use this cleaner alternative fuel. We hope that this will not only allow our local ports to attract ships using LNG as fuel, but other transportation customers to consider LNG as a viable alternative to oil based fuels.” •

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