One Orange shipyard is on the forefront of technology.
Conrad Industries, Inc., a Morgan City, Louisiana based company with a branch in Orange- Conrad Orange Shipyard, will be building Liquified Natural Gas bumper/transport barges at the facility. This will be the first of its kind to be built in the USA, according to Robert Sampey, business development manager.
He said LNG, as a marine fuel, isn’t as popular in the USA as it is in other parts of the world, though LNG is cheaper than diesel fuel in general. The goal is to supply LNG as a marine fuel, and thus, drive down its price through better availability.
An LNG supply facility will first be built on the West Coast at Tacoma, Wash. LNG is currently supplied by trucks.
Sampey added Conrad is working with both suppliers and end users of LNG.
“LNG is very popular across the sea, in Korea and the North Sea, for instance,” he said. “We’re working on additional contracts on the Gulf Coast with more to come.”
Other nations are already making inquiries about the barges.
As more LNG that is supplied, more LNG barges will be built.
The barge will be 232 feet long, by 48 feet wide and nearly 16 feet in length with a 2,200 cubic meter capacity. The barges should begin operations sometimes next year.
The exterior hull will be made of carbon steel. The interior tank will have foam lining and another stainless steel lining.
The LNG must remain cold at minus 260 degrees Fahrenheit.
Sampey said its difficult to compare LNG prices to oil prices because LNG is based on MMBTUs – One Thousand Thousand British Thermal Units- and oil is sold by the barrel. For instance, LNG is priced at $2.80 MMBTU while oil ranges from $40 to $50.
Conrad Orange Shipyard was selected for the pilot program due to its “great reputation,” Sampey said, and its great workforce. They also build inland tugs, ferries, deck barge, double hull tank barge, etc.
He added the employees in Orange are dedicated to doing things the right way.
Another bonus is Orange is adjacent to Houston and to the four Conrad facilities in Louisiana.
Sampey said another plus for LNG is that ships won’t need to carry as much fuel on board.
“It’s cleaner burning. There will be cleaner engine rooms and it will be better for the people around it. This is cutting edge technology,” he said.
The Orange shipyard is located on the Sabine River approximately 37 miles from the Gulf of Mexico on approximately 23 acres, according to the company’s website.
The shipyard has six construction bays under 115,000 square feet of enclosed building area with 13 overhead cranes. The site also has 200 feet of steel bulkhead and one slip.
The Orange shipyard equipment includes a gantry type NC (Numerical Control) plasma burner with a 21-foot by 90-foot table, over 60 automatic and semi-automatic welding machines, two rolling cranes, 600, 800 and 1,600-ton transfer/load-out systems and a marine railway with side transfer system.
Conrad acquired the Orange shipyard in 1997.