US gas exporter Cheniere Energy has met with the Panama Canal Authority asking for more slots for its LNG tankers crossing the waterway.
“Our visit allowed a greater understanding of the complexities around the Panama Canal operations. We are very appreciative of the collaboration with the Panama Canal to facilitate our 62 transits in 2017, positioning Cheniere as the largest LNG user of the canal,” said Eric Bensaude, managing director, commercial operations and asset optimization for Cheniere. “The Panama Canal and the LNG industry are, together, going through a learning curve. Cheniere is confident in the Panama Canal’s capabilities to adapt in addressing the needs of the growing LNG sector. The success of the Panama Canal is essential to the satisfaction of Cheniere’s customers and to the LNG industry as a whole.”
“As exports from the United States increase, LNG transits could increase by 50 percent by as early as September. The meetings with Cheniere allowed us to hear about customers’ experience transiting the Neopanamax locks first-hand, and to collaborate on ways we can continue meeting this growing demand from the LNG industry,” said canal administrator Jorge Quijano. “We look forward to working with all of our customers as the industry expands even more.”
At the moment the Panama Canal offers one reservation slot per day for LNG vessels. The canal has transited up to two fully loaded LNG vessels a day, when it has been necessary, as part of its efforts to accommodate customers’ needs.