PORT FOURCHON, La. — A $25 million liquefied natural gas fueling station at Port Fourchon will begin serving offshore oilfield boats this summer.
Harvey Gulf International Marine has broken ground on the first phase of the facility, which will supply a growing number of ships outfitted to run on natural gas. Company and port officials said it will be the first in the country designed to serve offshore boats.
The Courier reported (http://bit.ly/1gheXnw) the company estimates the operation will add 70 new full-time jobs.
Company CEO Shane Guidry said the fueling station combined with an initial order of six LNG-powered ships amount to a $400 million investment. The first of Harvey Gulf's dual-fuel boats was launched in January and is undergoing final inspection and preparation at the Port of Gulfport before delivery this summer.
"I'm investing more in LNG than any government agency or private company," Guidry said. "LNG marine fuel is the way of the future."
The first $25 million phase of the fueling terminal is expected to go online this summer. The facility will consist of two sites with 270,000-gallon, stainless-steel holding tanks that can fuel both boats and trucks.
Plans are still being developed for the second phase.
Guidry said he sees the station as a competitive advantage in the race for the most lucrative oilfield support contracts in the deep-water Gulf of Mexico and beyond.
He estimates that LNG can save his customers up to $9,000 per day in fuel.
Greater Lafourche Port Commission member Chuckie Cheramie expects more of the large boat companies will use natural gas because of its efficiency and potential regulatory encouragement.
"It's really simple," Guidry said. "If the boat is cheaper to operate, it makes it more attractive to the end user. The maintenance is less, it's more attractive to me over the long-term. In the future of this country, emissions being tight, it makes sense to invest now rather than later."
Information from: The Courier, http://www.houmatoday.com