But What About…

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A rendering of the Deep Sea Explorer, a PSV-based  LNG vessel proposed by Trinity Yachts.

But What About…

Of course, the folks at Trinity Yachts are not the only big-time fans of LNG. More to the point, some three years ago, Monaco-based Stephano Pastrovich, the designer behind the trend-setting WallyPower 118 and other Wally vessels, introduced a 325-foot, dual-fuel LNG yacht that Italian shipyard Fincantieri (which has launched a number of LNG-powered commercial vessels over the past few years) was prepared to build—Pastrovich calls her Xvintage.

“But at that time and even today,” he told me on the telephone a few days before I hit the trail for Port Fourchon, “there are no regulations or standards for fueling such a yacht, and not so much infrastructure—and this makes buyers uncomfortable. The superyacht market is very conservative. So no one wants to be first to try LNG, even though there are no technical reasons why it will not succeed, especially in Europe where LNG for marine use is perhaps more accepted and available right now. So sadly we have never built the yacht yet.”

I watched the Energy’s LNG bunkering operation from both her wheelhouse and the control module in her engine room. With chief engineer Dwain Brooks and his engineering team gravely but calmly overseeing the entire thing, the transfer of approximately 20,000 gallons of cryogenic fluid from the two trucks took just about three hours. The process seemed to go smoothly.

A rendering of Harvey Gulf International’s new $25 million LNG bunkering facility at Port Fourchon. Soon to be fully operational, according to Harvey,  it is the first such facility in the U.S.

But then, at its conclusion, the same issues that pestered Pastrovich were starting to pester me—exactly how, in the absence of sanctioned, standardized procedures, would a yacht’s crew be able to safely deal with a bunkering operation that entails temperatures of -260 degrees F? And where exactly would such bunkering take place?

With the can-do attitude that characterizes oilfield guys the world over, Detillier made short work of both concerns during a meal we shared with the Energy’s crew shortly before my departure. “Think about it, Bill” he said, “Right now, with the boats and this new bunkering facility, Harvey’s got a very, very substantial amount of money invested in LNG. So trust me, man. The regulations and the infrastructure—they’re gonna come.”

 “Good point,” I replied, as the peach cobbler came around, “And hey, once you guys get LNG going big-time in the oilfield, I can certainly see yachts  comin’ next.”  

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