To bring liquefied natural gas (LNG) to its marine and heavy-duty customers in North America, Shell is investing in two small-scale liquefaction units. A 0.25 million tons per year unit will be installed at the company’s Geismar Chemicals facility in Geismar, La., while the another unit of the same size will be installed at Shell’s Sarnia Manufacturing Centre in Sarnia, Ontario, Canada.

“The primary plant components will be prefabricated, however some supporting elements may be constructed on site,” says Shell’s Kayla Macke. “Construction and installation contracting will be conducted through Shell’s normal contracting and procurement processes.”

According to the firm, these two units will form the basis of two new LNG transport corridors in the Great Lakes and Gulf Coast regions. This decision follows an investment decision in 2011 on a similar corridor in Alberta, Canada, the company reported.

The Geismar LNG unit will supply fuel to users along the Mississippi River, the Intra-Coastal Waterway and offshore/onshore areas of the Gulf of Mexico.

Shell further reported that it is also expanding its existing relationship with fuels and lubricants re-seller Martin Energy Services, which will provide terminaling, storage, transportation and distribution of LNG in across Texas and Louisiana.

The company also has a memorandum of understanding with Edison Chouest Offshore companies (ECO) to supply LNG to marine vessels operating in the Gulf of Mexico. Barges will move LNG from the Geismar production site to Port Fourchon where it will be bunkered into customer vessels, according to Shell.

Meanwhile, the Sarnia LNG project will supply LNG fuel to all five Great Lakes, their bordering U.S. states and Canadian provinces and the St. Lawrence Seaway.

“The unit at the Geismar Chemical plant is expected to begin operations and LNG production in about three years,” Macke says. “Pending final regulatory permitting, the unit at the Sarnia Manufacturing Centre is also expected to begin operations and LNG production in about three years.”