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Panama Canal Authority, shippers work to double LNG capacity

The Panama Canal Authority is working with LNG shippers towards doubling the capacity set aside for LNG vessels by next October, the PCA said.

The PCA is working towards allowing two LNG vessels a day to transit the canal, from the single slot currently available.

“Currently all LNG transits are limited to daylight hours. We are working towards lifting some transit restrictions by the third quarter of next year,” the PCA said in a statement, adding that there are currently no transit delays.

LNG transit slots have been booked through the third quarter of next year by counter-parties, with offtake from the US Gulf including Shell, Cheniere, Gas Natural Fenosa and Kogas, according to one shipping source.

These slots can be canceled with advanced notice at the higher of varying discount percentages to the booking fee of $35,000 or a fixed amount.

According to a Panama-based port agent, only one or two LNG vessels have shown up without a booking in anticipation of a canceled slot.

Over 171 LNG carriers have so far transited the Panama Canal, or some 8.6% of transits through the Neopanamax locks.

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