Cameron LNG set to receive tanker as facility liquefies first cargo: dispatcher
Houston — An unladen Mitsui-owned LNG tanker was in the Gulf of Mexico late Monday and scheduled to arrive Tuesday at Sempra Energy’s export terminal in Louisiana as the facility prepares to ship its first cargo, a pilots dispatcher said. A second tanker owned by a company tied to Japan’s NYK was in the North Atlantic late Monday and may also be headed to the Cameron LNG terminal, S&P Global Platts trade flow software, cFlow, showed. Both Mitsui and NYK are equity partners in the liquefaction facility in Hackberry, south of Lake Charles. A spokeswoman for Sempra, the majority owner of Cameron LNG, said she could not confirm details of the tankers’ plans, and she referred further inquiries to the individual partners. The facility started up on May 14 and has been producing LNG since then in preparation for the export of its first cargo.
It is not uncommon for LNG tankers to set captain’s destinations or change destinations when close to a particular port, based on market economics and operational decisions. The closer of the two tankers, the Marvel Crane, left Barcelona on May 5, cFlow showed. It was off the Louisiana coast on Monday evening local time. While vessel tracking data did not yet show a captain’s destination, a dispatcher for the Lake Charles Pilots Association, which oversees the movement of local tanker pilots that transit the Cameron LNG facility, said by telephone that his log showed a scheduled arrival for the Marvel Crane at the Sempra facility for Tuesday.
The other tanker, the Shinshu Maru, was in the North Atlantic on Monday evening local time with a captain’s destination set for ‘Cameron’, a track towards the US and a scheduled arrival date of June 8. The pilots dispatcher said his log did not yet show a scheduled arrival at Cameron LNG for the Shinshu Maru.
The tanker was last in port at Zeebrugge, site of a regasification terminal on the coast of Belgium, which it departed from on May 24, according to cFlow. It appears to have last picked up a cargo at Qatar’s Ras Laffan terminal on May 5. Its current draught history was showing a level slightly above the level it has been at, each time it has picked up a cargo in recent months.
The highly anticipated startup of the first train at Cameron LNG marked the fourth such US project to begin operations since 2016, as the US looks to give shale gas producers more outlets from key basins along the Gulf Coast, in the Midcontinent region and in the Northeast.
The $10 billion Cameron LNG project — a joint venture of affiliates of San Diego-based Sempra, France’s Total, Japan’s Mitsui and a company jointly owned by Japan’s Mitsubishi and NYK — faced delays in late-2017 and early-2018. As many as 11,000 workers were on site last summer as contractors McDermott International and Chiyoda pushed to get the project back on track. McDermott recently said that startup of trains 2 and 3 will be delayed until 2020.
Project officials said during a tour of the facility in February that the number of commissioning cargoes that are shipped before commercial service begins could range from one to six or seven, depending on customer needs.
Cameron LNG operates a tolling model under which the buyer of the LNG is responsible for securing its own feedgas and deciding where the cargoes are delivered.