Written by Lt. Cmdr. Dallas Smith
Upon request by the Panama Canal Authority through the National Response Team’s memorandum of understanding, the Liquefied Gas Carrier National Center of Expertise, or LGC NCOE, delivered a three-day liquefied natural gas, or LNG, training session for 46 technical representatives of the Panama Canal Authority, Panamanian Government and U.S. Embassy – Panama. The training covered the chemical and physical properties of LNG, to include flammability, lower explosive limits, compression and cryogenic characteristics, and the general arrangement of LNG carriers to include their safety systems and cargo operations. The LGC NCOE also discussed LNG incident case studies, terminals and bunkering as well as LNG as a marine fuel. In addition, the LGC NCOE took the representatives to a Liquefied Gas Carrier and walked through an examination of a Liquefied Gas Carrier.
The Panama Canal expansion is set to open in April, 2016, which will allow, for the first time, LNG carriers to transit through the Panama Canal. The U.S. natural gas production has surged, thanks to the shale revolution, and the U.S. is on track to become a net exporter of natural gas. LNG terminals along the U.S. Gulf Coast will begin exporting LNG in 2016. Due to these advancements, the Panama Canal will be positioned to play a decisive role in shipping LNG from the U.S. to Asian markets. The distance to ship U.S. LNG from the Gulf of Mexico to Asia will decrease 9,000 miles after expansion is complete.
The training was a result of an earlier visit back in June when the LGC NCOE met with the Panama Canal’s Administrator and Senior Staff to assess the canal’s existing and proposed LNG specific processes, equipment and qualifications.
This training was vital for the Panama Canal Authority and the Panama Government to ensure personnel operating the Panama Canal are trained on safety and security equipment and procedures for handling LNG transits. Additionally, it strengthens the U.S. strategic partnerships and provided essential expertise to this critical international shipping asset.
The LGC NCOE is one of six nationwide national centers of expertise focusing on providing industry specific consultation and services to the Coast Guard and maritime industry. The LGC NCOE provides technical advice on matters related to liquefied gas in the maritime community; liquefied gas training and outreach opportunities; liquefied gas workforce forecasting and performance development; and technical expertise for the establishment of local and national liquefied gas guidance, policy and regulations.
For more information on the LGC NCOE, visit their website at http://www.uscg.mil/lgcncoe.
This blog is not a replacement or substitute for the formal posting of regulations and updates or existing processes for receiving formal feedback of the same. Links provided on this blog will direct the reader to official source documents, such as the Federal Register, Homeport and the Code of Federal Regulations. These documents remain the official source for regulatory information published by the Coast Guard.