A cargo of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) produced by Atlantic, will leave the company’s facility in Point Fortin and traverse the newly expanded Panama Canal on July 26, 2016. The cargo, which is destined for Mexico, will be transported by the BP-owned LNG tanker, British Merchant and is the first LNG tanker with a cargo from Atlantic’s facility to go through the new locks.
The expanded canal can now accommodate the majority of the larger tankers which ship LNG globally. Atlantic’s Chief Executive Officer, Nigel Darlow believes this augurs well for Trinidad and Tobago, as it shortens the time and distance for larger LNG tankers to reach targeted markets particularly in Asia.
“Prior to June 2016, approximately 8% of the world’s LNG tankers utilized the Canal however, with the expansion, 90% of the worldwide fleet can now traverse” he explained.
Now, all but the largest class of tankers can use the waterway. The British Merchant, which was built to transport a volume of approximately 138,000 cubic metres, can now be easily accommodated on the recently enlarged Panama Canal (also referred to as post-Panamax). The Canal now has a capacity for tankers that carry volumes to a capacity of approximately 180,000 cubic metres – nearly twice its original capacity.
Darlow is encouraged by the prospect given that it is good news for Atlantic and the country, since it further strengthens market accessibility for Trinidad and Tobago’s LNG, especially to the Asian market which accounted for 72% of worldwide LNG demand in 2015.