Senior Coast Guard leaders and liquefied-gas-industry experts from around the country came together last week in Houston to prepare for the increased use of liquefied gases throughout the maritime community and gain a deeper understanding of the intricacies each party faces as they adapt to the rapid growth of this multi-billion dollar industry.
The three-day event, hosted by The Society of International Gas Tanker and Terminal Operators (SIGTTO) in cooperation with the Coast Guard’s Liquefied Gas Carrier National Center of Expertise’s (LGC NCOE) and The Society for Gas as a Marine Fuel (SGMF), included educational information on topics such as liquefied gas carriers, liquefied gas import and export facilities, use of liquefied gas as a marine fuel, and liquefied gas bunkering operations. With over 25 topics and more than 35 presenters, attendees were exposed to current Coast Guard policy, industry regulations and procedures, and maritime liquefied gas projects either underway or proposed throughout the U.S. The forum also included a training session with Texas A&M Firefighting discussing methods for extinguishing and/or controlling LNG fires, and vapor control techniques. In addition, Pivotal LNG held a live liquefied gas demonstration, and the attendees made a visit to the Enterprise Products fractionation/storage facility in Mont Belvieu, Texas and to the nation’s largest Ethane shipping facility in Houston.
The maritime community is currently experiencing an international shift with the increased transport and use of liquefied gases. Due in part to the environmental limitations put in place by the U.S. Emissions Control Area (ECA), the pending 2020 MARPOL VI reduced SOx regulations, and increased supply created from an expanding U.S. natural gas and oil industry, there is an abundance of low cost and clean fuel options for export and use in ports around the U.S. These changes are leading to new import and export facilities, as well as liquefied gas fueled vessels and bunkering operations that are either already underway, or soon to be kicked off in ports throughout the nation.
The Deputy Administrator for the U.S. Energy Information Administration, Dr. Howard Gruenspecht, provided the forum’s keynote remarks. Dr. Gruenspecht educated the public on natural gas and petroleum trade, recent developments and outlook for waterborne movements and expressed that “LNG exports from the United States will increase over the next 5 years as liquefaction facilities now under construction come on-line” and went on to say “Further export growth will depend on how well U.S. sourced LNG competes with alternative supply sources”.
During the forum’s opening remarks, the Coast Guard’s Deputy Commandant for Operations, Vice Adm. Charles W. Ray, expressed his appreciation by saying, “I would like to personally thank SIGTTO, SGMF and the Coast Guard’s LGC NCOE for partnering to hold the 2nd Liquefied Gas Senior Executive Forum. Your increasing cooperation over the past few years has helped all levels of the Coast Guard better understand this industry, and the industry better understand the Coast Guard. I look forward to seeing even more collaboration between these three organizations as this industry continues to grow and play a role throughout the maritime community!” He went on to say, “This event not only provides a glimpse of the industry, but also an opportunity to better understand regulatory concerns, innovative solutions, and future projects that will likely impact most every port in the U.S. in the coming years. The senior leaders in the Coast Guard recognize this growth and are working to identify ways to best meet the growing demand.”
In addition to Vice Adm. Ray, more than 65 Coast Guard leaders, including many Captains of the Port from around the country, also attended. Furthermore, personnel from the Department of Energy, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration and close to 150 industry representatives participated in the event.
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.