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  • Writer's pictureRose Cay

U.S. Maritime Sector Sees Role in Carbon Transportation for Cleaner Energy

The push towards alternative fuels like blue ammonia and blue methanol is generating a by-product: carbon. This necessitates innovative transportation solutions to move carbon away from the atmosphere for sequestration, particularly in depleted oil fields. U.S. maritime companies are gearing up to play a significant role in this emerging field, with a keen eye on the Gulf of Mexico for new business opportunities.

In December 2023, Overseas Shipholding Group (OSG) received a significant boost with a $400,000 grant, predominantly funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, to investigate the feasibility of establishing a Tampa Regional Intermodal Carbon Hub (T-RICH) at Port Tampa Bay. This hub aims to serve as an intermediary for CO2 captured across Florida, preparing it for maritime transport to sequestration sites in the northern Gulf of Mexico. OSG envisions this facility processing two million metric tons of CO2 annually.

Sam Norton, OSG’s CEO, elaborated on the project's significance, stating, “OSG’s proposed hub site at Port Tampa Bay would aggregate and store CO2 captured from emitters for loading onto specialized liquified CO2 vessels to be operated by the Company. These vessels would then deliver their cargoes to the northern Gulf of Mexico, which has the largest confirmed capacity for safe, deep, permanent underground sequestration of captured CO2.” This initiative underscores the maritime sector's pivotal role in addressing carbon emissions.

Additionally, the conversation around repurposing older and smaller vessels for carbon injection tasks surfaced during a January 2024 webcast with Tidewater's CEO, Quintin Kneen. This indicates a potential shift in the utilization of maritime assets towards environmental sustainability efforts.

Parallel to carbon sequestration efforts, the maritime industry is also transitioning towards green methanol, a cleaner alternative that does not require carbon storage. Jones Act vessel owners like Rose Cay Maritime are aligning with producers such as Carbon Sink LLC to transport green methanol, fostering a sustainable supply chain that supports cleaner energy consumption in maritime operations. This dual approach—developing carbon transport and storage solutions alongside the shift to green fuels—highlights the maritime industry's proactive stance on environmental sustainability.

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