NS: Special Permit Allows LNG Rail Shipments

US DOT Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) Granted a Special Permit for LNG Unit Trains to Roll Immediately Between PA Marcellus Fields to NJ Philadelphia-Area Loading Terminal. Fortress Investment Owns the Supply Chain from the Ground to Generators in Jamaica.

05 December, Washington DC — Fortress is investing a lot of money and innovation in this end-to-end LNG supply chain, and will most likely make a lot more from it. But there seems also to be numerous benefits for a wide range of interested parties. Domestic benefits include some hundreds of jobs in several “post-industrial” locations for construction and operation of facilities in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Railroads (and trucks) will gain a substantial new shipper, and LNG-by-rail will become normalized. Just as importantly, however, NFE’s play has substantially reduced the use of dirtier fuels in the Caribbean and elsewhere. It’s hard to say if this yields a total net reduction in global greenhouse gas emissions, but it seems like an important step in the right direction.

Special permit details

DOT-SP 20534 allows Energy Transport Solutions, LLC (ETS) to transport LNG by rail in DOT-113C120W tank cars between Wyalusing PA and Gibbstown NJ, with no intermediate stops. Those movements are exempted from current 49 CFR 171.101 Column (8C) and related codes prohibiting the regular transport of LNG in tank cars. The Special Permit expires on 30.November.2021.

The Special Permit immediately authorizes single-car shipments. Within 90 days of issuance, Energy Transport Solutions, LLC must submit a detailed plan to increase shipments to multiple-car, and ultimately unit train movements, up to 100 cars. Every three months, up to the first shipment, ETS must provide quarterly program updates describing the progress on manufacture and delivery of tank cars, and the scheduled first shipment date. Once shipments have begun, the grantee must provide a report every three months documenting the number of tank cars shipped under the terms of this special permit since the previous report was submitted including details on conformance to the plan.

Shipments are required to conform with all regulations regarding transportation of Hazard Class 2.1 materials. Specific safety control measures require each conforming tank car to meet these requirements:

  1. Maximum permitted filling pct-by-weight density of 32.5%;
  2. Maximum operating pressure of 15 psig when offered for transportation
  3. Remote sensing for detecting and reporting internal pressure, location, and leakage.
  4. Tested and inspected in accordance with 49 CFR Part 180.

NS linehaul

The route is not prescribed, but Norfolk Southern serves the Wyalusing area, and its lines cross Philadelphia and feed traffic across the Delair Bridge, which crosses the Delaware River between Port Richmond and Pennsauken just below the Betsy Ross Bridge {Andrew Maykuth, Philadelphia Inquirer 10.Dec.2019}.

ETS is a subsidiary of New Fortress Energy, LLC, which is an arm of the Fortress Investment Group. Until this, Fortress Transportation Assets’ Virgin/FECR Florida railroad was “the only company in the lower 48 states [with] permission of the federal government to put LNG on the railroad and to use it for fuel on the railroad” {NFE Chief Development Officer Brannen McElmurray, Nov.2018}.

Why Wyalusing?

Ground will be broken this coming Spring on two gas liquifaction facilities to be built on a 40-acre site in the Browntown locale of Wyalusing PA. The facilities will provide takeaway for Marcellus Shale Formation gas that has been “stranded,” due to regulatory resistance to new pipeline construction in neighboring New York state [ and in New England – Ed. ] {Morgan Snook, NorthCentralPA.com , 09.Sept.2019}.

The Browntown and Browntown II terminals … [will] have the highest small-scale LNG liquefaction capacities by 2023 with 2120 ktpa each” {Matthew Veazey, Rigzone 09.Sept.2019}

The plant will process locally produced natural gas that is taken off the Liberty Gathering System. The gas will arrive via pipeline at the plant. {Joe Barone, ShaleDirectories.com .}

Construction on the facility is expected to begin in the spring of 2020, to be completed by the fall of 2021. NFE’s 13 August 2Q-2019 financial results conference call reported that the company had already invested $150 million into the development of its LNG plants on Route 6 in Browntown. The total investment is estimated to be $800 million. {Warren Howeler, Wyalusing Rocket-Courier 14.Aug.2019.}

Gibbstown NJ

The first large-scale dynamite, TNT, and organic compounds development and manufacturing site in the U.S. (1880), the 1,865-acre Repauno works was built and operated by subsidiaries of the DuPont Corporation. Lammot DuPont was himself killed here in a lab explosion, among numerous casualties of several notorious explosions. It was named a Superfund site in 1990, and cleanup has been underway since. {OpenRailwayMap; annotated by ANRP (c)ANRP}.

“Bomb trains” destined for NJ dynamite site

The Gibbstown, NJ site where the LNG will be transferred from rail cars to ocean vessels is the former DuPont Repauno explosives factory. LNG would be loaded onto ocean-going tankers for transport to the company’s terminals in the Caribbean.

Delaware River Partners LLC, which is building the port facility, is owned by a company that is controlled and managed by Fortress Investment Group’s subsidiary, New Fortress Energy {Maykuth}.


NFE now has two large terminals serving the Caribbean island. Much of the Wyalusing-originated LNG will find its way to these two facilities {New Fortress Energy}.

Clean fuel for the Caribbean

NFE’s new Jamaica regasification terminal is 3.6 miles offshore of Old Harbour Bay, St. Catherine. The terminal was commissioned on 19 July. The event was presided over by Jamaica’s Prime Minister, Hon. Andrew Holness.

Operated by New Fortress Energy, the terminal is the first of its kind in the Caribbean. It will provide environmentally friendly, lower-cost fuel to several facilities, including the Jamaica Public Service’s (JPS) soon-to-be-completed 190 mega-watt power plant in Old Harbour, through natural gas pipelines.

Jamaica’s transition to natural gas first started in October 2016 with the conversion of the JPS 120-megawatt Bogue power plant from diesel to natural gas, supplied by New Fortress’s first Jamaican LNG terminal in Montego Bay. The Montego Bay terminal also supplies LNG to the University of the West Indies, Red Stripe, Caribbean Products, Appleton, IGL Limited, CB Group, Clarendon Distillers, Wisynco and Seprod. A pilot program is underway to convert the Jamaica Urban Transit Company’s bus fleet to natural gas.

With the addition of the new Old Harbour Bay terminal, in another 12 months, Jamaica’s electricity will be mostly generated from clean natural gas and renewable energy, supplied by NFE. New Fortress has invested close to $1 billion to bring the LNG project to its current stage, according to remarks made by NFE CEO Wes Edens, at the commissioning event.

{Alecia Smith, Jamaica Information Service 20.July.2019}