Pacific Maritime Magazine - Marine Business for the Operations Sector

By Chris Philips
Managing Editor 

Gas Plants


April 1, 2019

At press time, Wärtsilä has been given Notice to Proceed for a Liquid biogas (bioLNG) plant to be built in Asker, Norway. The contract for the plant was awarded in April 2018 by VEAS, a Norwegian wastewater treatment and biogas producing company, and the Notice to Proceed was signed in December 2018.

The new facility will comprise a biogas upgrading and liquefaction plant. It will enable VEAS to produce vehicle quality bioLNG, thereby creating an alternative to fossil fuels and reducing CO2 emissions. The new bioLNG plant will be incorporated together with the company’s existing biogas plant, which is the biggest sewage sludge treatment plant in Norway serving nearly 750,000 people. The total bioLNG production capacity will be 20 tons per day. For Wärtsilä, this is the third bioLNG plant in Norway, and the fifth globally.

“Efficiency and environmental sustainability are two of the main pillars of Wärtsilä’s strategy for future energy use. This new plant represents both of these pillars, and we are proud to be partnering VEAS in this carbon reducing project,” says Arne Jakobsen, General Manager Biogas Liquefaction Systems, Wärtsilä.

The scope of supply for the bioLNG plant includes upgrading of the biogas, hot water production, liquefaction, storage and truck loading capability.

Wärtsilä is delivering the system on a fast-track basis, and the on-site installation is scheduled to be completed within a 14-month time-frame. The plant is expected to enter into commercial operation during 2020.

Meanwhile, the Tacoma PugetLNG natural gas facility at Tacoma, currently under construction and expected to be in production by late 2020, is meeting with resistance from some local tribes and environmental special interest groups, who have asked Governor Jay Inslee to step in and halt the project.

These groups were successful in chasing away a proposed methanol plant in 2016, but may be disheartened by Inslee’s entrance into the crowded field of Democrat Presidential hopefuls for 2020, which should distract him from local issues.

Cyrus Habib, the state’s lieutenant governor, will assume the role of acting governor when Inslee is out of the office, which is now essentially all the time.

Mr. Habib is a proud “progressive”, and he is known for his efforts to wean the state from hydrocarbons. In 2015, as a legislator, Habib worked to have the theory of manmade global warming codified as law.

While an undergraduate at Columbia University, Habib worked in the New York City office of then Senator Hillary Clinton. He is a Rhodes Scholar, a Truman Scholar, and a Soros Fellow, and holds a law degree from Yale Law School. Habib won Barack Obama’s endorsement as “the highest ranking Iranian-American in US politics, and, if elected, would be the first Iranian-American ever to serve in statewide office.” It’s a safe bet that his current job is a stepping stone for Mr. Habib, who said, when he took office as Lieutenant Governor in 2016, that Donald Trump’s America “…is not the America I believe in.”

Whatever one’s personal feelings about the President, Donald Trump’s America has so far been very good for the West Coast’s bottom line. Employment is up, trade is up and confidence is up. Overly prescriptive regulations have been diminished or removed and the environmentally sustainable natural resource extraction vilified by previous administrations has been permitted and promoted. The region now has an opportunity to become a hub for clean, inexpensive and environmentally responsible liquefied natural gas (LNG). Promoting the expansion of LNG as fuel is “progressively” responsible energy policy. It’s good for the environment, and it’s good for the economy.

With Jay Inslee concentrating on his Presidential campaign, Cyrus Habib is now Washington State’s acting CEO. We hope he will consider the best interests of the State over his political ambitions.

Chris can be reached at


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