LNG bunkering and small-scale LNG distribution in Panama getting closer toreality

C. B. Fenton, part of Ultramar (Chile), and Kanfer Shipping signed an MoU in December 2022 with the purpose of establishing an LNG bunkering hub and a small-scale LNG distribution with basis in Panama.

Source: Melones Oil Terminal (MOTI)

The two parties are now moving forward and bringing onboard Melones Oil Terminal (MOTI). MOTI is among the largest and most influential marine fuel oil terminal operators in Panama and provide reliable and safe storage of marine fuels. MOTI and its affiliate company, Trader Tankers, clearly see that LNG is the transition fuel for the maritime industry and would like to take part in the strong emerging market. They see Panama as a strategic location for LNG bunkering and would like to focus on the transition, but also to facilitate the small-scale LNG distribution in the region.

For this reason, the parties have signed an MoU with the purpose of commercializing small-scale LNG bunkering and distribution in Panama and more specifically in Balboa. MOTI is on the Pacific side of Panama where about 80% of the conventional bunkering is being done today. The parties have in mind establishing a small-scale LNG terminal on the Pacific side, to serve the ports along the Pacific side of Panama and do small scale LNG distribution along the coast.

The partners have had many discussions with various LNG sources and have identified most of the sources in the region. Sourcing and pricing of the molecules are important to stay competitive to other locations in the region and based on this, the parties are on good track.

The Group is now determined to bring this project to commercialization and will be starting a feasibility study including bringing in another solid partner from the LNG bunkering and distribution value chain. The discussions with such parties have already commenced.

“We are proud to be part of this select group of companies leading the way in the decarbonization of the
maritime industry. As leading companies in the marine product segments, we have a responsibility to look for solutions for decarbonization in the industry. This MoU is just the first step in what promises to be a fruitful collaboration between distinct parties that each bring resources, expertise and vision to the table”, says Horacio Cofer, CEO at Melones Oil Terminal.

“We are delighted to have MOTI taking part in this important project. They will be an important cornerstone in this project in many ways with their professional approach to this market, their name and reputation including the drive to make things happen and have focus on future fuels”, says Stig Hagen, Managing Partner in Kanfer Shipping and added, “we are aligned that collaboration is the new fuel”.

The pressure is on the maritime industry to decarbonize, and measures need to be taken. “We are now taking a lead to make it easier for the maritime industry to take a relevant step towards a greener future. With such important and solid partners taking part in this project and being consistent with the goal of carbon neutrality by the end of this decade, proposed by the Panama Canal Authority, we are confident that we will reach the target” says Marco A. Guerra, CEO of C. B. Fenton.

“The target remains; we would like to see the service up and running with Kanfer’s state of the art bunkering ships by late 2025/early 2026”, the parties concluded.

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