The following is text of a news release from Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding:
(THE WOODLANDS, Texas) — NorthStar Midstream, a portfolio company of funds managed by Oaktree Capital Management L.P., has executed an agreement with Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding to build a 5,400-cubic-meter (CBM) barge, with the ability to potentially construct two sister barges, for coastwise transportation of liquefied natural gas (LNG).
Utilizing a suitable tugboat, the barge will operate as an articulated tug-barge (ATB) unit that will initially run along the East Coast of the United States providing LNG bunkering solutions to NorthStar’s customers. Polaris New Energy (PNE), a marine transportation company formed by NorthStar, will be sourcing LNG from JAX LNG, a new LNG production facility in Jacksonville, Fla., created through a partnership between NorthStar and Pivotal LNG.
The barge will be fitted with four 1,350 CBM IMO Type C tanks. It will utilize a cargo handling system designed and developed by Wartsila. Dimensions of the vessel will be 340 feet overall length with a 66-foot beam and a depth of 32 feet 10 inches. The unit will be an ABS classed barge.
“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," said Tim Casey, executive president of LNG for NorthStar. "As domestic natural gas continues to rise, LNG has quickly become both a clean and competitively priced fuel alternative. 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. This is a first step in Oaktree and NorthStar’s strategy to create a complete platform of LNG logistical solutions for U.S. customers.”
“Entry into the U.S. LNG transportation vessel market has been a strategic interest of our organization," said Todd Thayse, vice president and general manager of Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding. "Partnering with NorthStar and its affiliate companies on this project gives us the opportunity to be part of this exciting emerging industry and related market growth. As we put this project into place, we will bring the expertise of Fincantieri and our own designs to the LNG market. The hard-working women and men of Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding are well prepared and eager to begin, providing the eventual on-time delivery and quality the maritime industry has come to know and expect from our shipyards.”