Fincantieri to build LNG barge for East Coast route

NorthStar Midstream, a portfolio company of funds managed by Oaktree Capital Management, L.P., has formed Polaris New Energy (PNE), a marine transportation company focused on the transportation and distribution of liquefied natural gas (LNG).

NorthStar executed an agreement with Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding to build a 5,400 cbm for coastwise transportation of LNG, with options to construct two sister barges.

Fincantieri said that the barge would operate as an articulated tug and barge unit, utilizing a suitable tugboat, that would initially run along the East Coast of the United States providing LNG bunkering solutions to NorthStar’s customers.

PNE will be sourcing LNG from JAX LNG, an LNG production facility in Jacksonville created through a partnership between NorthStar and Pivotal LNG. The facility began operations in late May 2019.

The 5,400 cbm vessel will be fitted with four 1,350 cbm IMO Type C tanks and utilize a cargo handling system designed and developed by Wartsila.

Tim Casey, executive president of LNG for NorthStar Midstream, said: “The construction of this barge will expand our ability to solve the logistics behind delivering LNG to our customers in both an economical and safe manner.

“We see increased domestic industries looking to LNG as their future fuel source, and we are extremely excited to be on the forefront of LNG domestic marine transportation.”

Todd Thayse, VP and general manager of Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding, added: “Entry into the U.S. LNG transportation vessel market has been a strategic interest of our organization. As we put this project into place, we will bring the expertise of Fincantieri and our designs to the LNG market.“

Image courtesy of Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding