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Great Lakes LNG Deal

Interlake Steamship fleet to reduce environmental impact, reliance on imported fuels; first conversion from HFO by 2015

Posted on May 13, 2013

Great Lakes ship operator Interlake Steamship Co. has reached an agreement in principle with Shell to supply LNG as Interlake converts its vessels from heavy fuel oil (HFO). Interlake has nine vessels hauling bulk cargoes throughout the Great Lakes region.

Interlake said that, when converted, these ships are expected to be the first LNG-powered ships on the Great Lakes and among the first in the U.S. With a goal of converting the first vessel by the spring of 2015, Interlake is already working through engineering and design, seeking regulatory approval and securing financing. Shell would be Interlake’s exclusive supplier of LNG for each converted vessel.

The company said that operating on LNG would further reduce the environmental impact of marine transportation, which is already the most environmentally friendly way to move goods throughout the Great Lakes region.

Interlake also noted that the move to LNG allows it to use a fuel that is sourced, produced and distributed entirely in North America, reducing the use of and reliance on imported fossil fuels.

Shell announced plans in March to invest in a liquefaction unit at its Sarnia Manufacturing Centre in Ontario, Canada. Once operational, this project will supply LNG fuel throughout the Great Lakes, their bordering U.S. States and Canadian provinces, and the St. Lawrence Seaway.