Take a moment and imagine this:  The world’s deep-sea shipping fleet includes more than 60,000 marine vessels. Most are powered by heavy fuel oil to transport all kinds of commercial goods, dry cargo, and liquid fuels to destinations across the globe. Among them, the Very Large Crude Carriers–the largest manmade structures on Earth–exhaust a whopping 55 tons of heavy fuel oil every day.  For the maritime industry, a dramatic sea change occurred earlier this year in the form of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) mandate to dramatically cap the heavy fuel sulfur those big boats burn. And the aftermath is not only transforming the world’s shipping fleet but opening new opportunities in the LNG industry.


Pilot LNG was founded in mid 2019 by a team of experienced executives with complementary backgrounds across the natural gas, LNG midstream and downstream sectors. With a firm belief in a set of core values and a dedication to creating a customer-driven company that operates with excellence as its standard and innovation as a requirement, the Pilot LNG team provides the natural gas/LNG market a full suite of midstream services and solutions, custom designed to meet our customers’ specific requirements.


As early as last year, ship owners and ship builders alike set upon an accelerated track to retrofit existing marine vessels and manufacture new ones that use LNG as bunker fuel—including those that transport it—in preparation for the stringent new IMO regulation. LNG-fueled ship orders have increased a staggering 50% from February 2019 to February 2020 to comply. As a point of reference, the world’s ports currently offer truck-to-ship and ship-to-ship bunkering transfer options along with shore-to-ship terminals in numerous countries, including the U.S. But there lie major disadvantages to each, including limited capacity of trucks and required road connections; high investment costs for ship-to-ship methods that can only serve small vessels; and limited berth access for larger ships at onshore terminals.

Houston-based PILOT LNG offers another idea—actually, two—with its initial bet on developing the first dedicated bunker fuel terminal on the Gulf Coast that would serve Galveston, Houston, and the Texas City port complex. Only this terminal will be floating.

Founded in 2019, PILOT’s Galveston LNG Bunker Port project will be designed around floating liquefaction technology (FLNG) on Pelican Island. The company’s proposed FLNG liquefaction terminal follows PILOT’s installation of the world-first floating storage and regasification terminal in Argentina. The $500 million Galveston LNG bunker project is expected a final investment decision in the second half of 2021 with operations beginning in 2024.

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