NorthStar Midstream, a portfolio company of funds managed by Oaktree Capital Management LP, on Aug. 22 announced the formation of Polaris New Energy (PNE), a marine transportation company focused on the transportation and distribution of LNG along the coastal and inland waterways of the U.S.
NorthStar has executed an agreement with Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding to build a 5,400 cubic meter (CBM), with the ability to potentially construct two sister barges, for coastwise transportation of LNG. Utilizing a suitable tugboat, the barge will operate as an articulated tug and barge unit that will initially run along the East Coast of the U.S. providing LNG bunkering solutions to NorthStar’s customers. PNE will be sourcing LNG from JAX LNG, a new state-of-the-art LNG production facility in Jacksonville, Florida created through a partnership between NorthStar and Pivotal LNG.
The 5,400 cubic meter ATB 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’ overall length, 66’ beam, and a depth of 32 ft-10 in. The ATB 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 NorthStar Midstream executive president of LNG Tim Casey. “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.”
Todd Thayse, Vice President and General Manager of Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding, said: “Entry into the U.S. LNG transportation vessel market has been a strategic interest of our organization. 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.”
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