Panama Canal LNG transits on the rise

GasLog Saratoga in the Panama Canal (Image courtesy of GasLog)

The number of liquefied natural gas (LNG ) carriers transiting the expanded Panama Canal has been steadily rising since July last year, driven by US exports of shale gas.

The first LNG carrier to transit the expanded Panama Canal was the 161,870-cbm Maran Gas Apollonia, chartered by the Hague-based LNG giant Shell, loaded with a cargo from Cheniere’s Sabine Pass liquefaction plant.

The expanded canal is able to accommodate about 90 percent of the world’s current LNG tankers. Only the Q-Flex and Q-Max tankers used for exports from Qatar, are not able to use the canal.

On Monday, the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) celebrated its one-year anniversary of the inauguration of its expansion.

More than 1,500 ships have transited the expanded Panama Canal. Containerships represent 51.3% of the total, followed by LPG tankers and LNG carriers, which represent 31.5% and 9.1%, respectively, ACP said in a statement.

Besides Maran Gas Apollonia, 138 LNG tankers transited the canal since July last year.

In addition to LNG transits, the Panama Canal aims to add LNG bunkering services as well.

The Panama Canal plans to concession an LNG terminal on the Atlantic side of the waterway to provide LNG bunkering and redistribution capabilities, the ACP said.

“Today’s milestone provides us with an opportunity to reflect on the Canal’s strong performance to-date and the industry’s wide-spread adoption of the waterway,” said Panama Canal Administrator Jorge L. Quijano.

“Looking forward, the next decade will serve as a significant next chapter in the Panama Canal’s story as we continue to advance various infrastructure projects within the region to further position Panama as the logistics hub of the Americas – for the benefit of our customers, and for the people of Panama,” added Quijano.


LNG World News Staff

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