US maritime infrastructure company Seapath and Houston-based clean energy solutions provider Pilot LNG have submitted for state and federal approval permit applications to build the Galveston liquefied natural gas bunker port (GLBP).

The applications were filed with the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to seek permission to construct and operate the proposed GLBP small-scale natural gas liquefaction unit on Shoal Point in the Greater Houston port complex.

The facility will be the region’s first dedicated LNG bunker to provide LNG as marine fuel.

A series of regulations are ensuring more companies are looking towards cleaner marine fuel. The International Maritime Organization has set a limit on the sulphur content in fuel oil used aboard ships under the IMO 2020 regulation.

Shan Davison, chief development officer at Pilot LNG, said: “The Galveston LNG Bunker Port project continues to meet its milestones, and we are very excited to announce that the necessary permitting applications have been submitted. We are confident that we will meet the rigorous requirements of state  local permitting authorities to ensure that the project is delivered on time and will meet the ever-growing demand for clean fuel supply in the Galveston Bay, and US Gulf Coast region by the end of 2026.”

The proposed GLBP project includes natural gas liquids and refrigerant storage, feed gas pre-treatment facilities, associated marine and loading facilities and a bunker vessel loading berth. The terminal will be made up of two natural gas liquefaction trains with a total expected capacity of 600,000 gallons per day, along with a three-million-gallon storage tank.

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Planning of the project began in September 2023 and the final investment decision is expected in mid-2024, with operations predicted to start in late 2026.

Joshua Lubarsky, president of Seapath Group, said: “Our experience in developing, building and operating energy infrastructure will help us with this much-needed facility. This facility is a critical investment into the resilience of the United States’ maritime infrastructure, and upon construction will immediately provide positive environmental and economic impacts in Texas City, Galveston Bay and the US Gulf Coast.”