New Puerto Rico Deal Bolsters Jacksonville's Reputation as Supplier of Liquefied Natural Gas

From the sourcing and transportation to delivery, the entire process and LNG supply chain will be seamless for Coca-Cola

March 13--Jacksonville-based Crowley has landed a contract to supply liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Coca-Cola Puerto Rico Bottlers, strengthening the First Coast's position in the growing natural gas industry.

Crowley's Carib Energy wing of the company will supply containerized natural gas to two of Coca-Cola's manufacturing plants in Cayey and Cidra, Puerto Rico.

The conversion at the plants from diesel to LNG will lower emissions, a Crowley news release said Wednesday.

The liquefied natural gas will run through Jacksonville's shipping terminal before being loaded onto containers that will be transported by ships to Puerto Rico. Once on the island, Crowley's logistics teams in Puerto Rico will deliver the gas to the bottling facilities.

"From the sourcing and transportation to the delivery into the equipment, the entire process and LNG supply chain will be seamless for Coca-Cola," said Greg Buffington, Crowley vice president of Carib Energy. "We are thrilled to play a pivotal role in supplying a cost-efficient, safe, reliable and environmentally friendly natural gas fuel source for their operations."

The development comes as Jacksonville has been ramping up efforts to position itself as a key player in LNG logistics. Some of those efforts include:

-- Sea Star Line and Crowley, two major JaxPort tenants, ordered liquefied natural gas-powered cargo ships.

-- Jacksonville-based CSX is also looking at LNG conversion. In November, the company said it would partner with GE Transportation over the coming months on a test to outfit some diesel-powered locomotives with a kit that will give them the capability to run on LNG.

-- Jacksonville Electric Authority and Tampa-based TECO Energy, which both own portions of Jacksonville's underground natural-gas pipeline network, plan to work together to improve its capacity.

-- St. Johns County plans to convert its 130-vehicle fleet to natural gas.

-- The Jacksonville Transportation Authority is looking at constructing a compressed natural gas fueling station and plans to buy 100 natural gas-powered buses over a five-year period.

-- The North Florida Transportation Planning Organization is also looking to incentivize fleet conversion with at least some of about $1 million it will receive in July.

In 2013, Crowley entered the LNG industry after acquiring Florida-based Carib Energy, which had a U.S. Department of Energy LNG export license.

Julie Bravo, vice president of CC1 Companies -- which runs the Puerto Rico Coca-Cola operations -- welcomed the accord with Crowley.

"We are very pleased to start working with Crowley towards bringing alternatives for cost effective sources of energy into our island and, in the process, provide a better footprint in our industrial projects by lowering our emissions," Bravo said in the news release.

Drew Dixon: (904) 359-4098

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