New rules at Panama Canal expected to boost LNG industry in US


(HOUSTON) — New rules allowing more liquefied natural gas (LNG) tankers to pass through the Panama Canal each day are expected to boost the development of the multibillion-dollar industry along the U.S. Gulf Coast, the Houston Chronicle reported.

Under rules that went into effect in October, two LNG tankers traveling in opposite directions are allowed to be in the waterway’s central lake at the same time. The canal opened to LNG tankers in June 2016, but administrators had limited that traffic to one tanker per day during daylight hours.

Jorge Barakat, minister of maritime affairs for the Panama Maritime Authority, said that as many as four to five LNG tankers have passed through the canal in a single day.

The new rules come ahead of the LNG industry’s anticipated expansion along the U.S. Gulf Coast. Houston-based Cheniere Energy has emerged as the canal’s top customer among LNG exporters, moving cargoes from its Sabine Pass processing plant in Louisiana through the canal to customers in Asia. Cheniere moved 62 shipments going through the Panama Canal last year.

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By Professional Mariner Staff