New trailer could boost size of Fairbanks LNG deliveries

ANCHORAGE — A state agency will evaluate a new semi-truck trailer that could carry larger loads of liquefied natural gas from a plant at Point MacKenzie to Fairbanks.

Western Cascade Trucking Equipment in Tukwila, Washington, helped design the five-axle trailer that can carry up to 13,000 gallons of LNG, the most allowed by Alaska law, at 265 degrees below zero. The capacity would be an increase from trailers now carrying up to 11,000 gallons.

“We built this trailer specifically for the Alaska market and we think it will lower the cost per gallon on the transportation side,” said Pat Malara, president of Western Cascade Trucking.

Western Cascade is marketing the trailer for its owner, Tennessee-based Heil Trailer International.

The launch was delayed for weeks because a barge carrying the trailer faced 40-foot seas in the Gulf of Alaska and waited out a storm in a cove, Malara, said.

The Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority will review the trailer’s performance for a possible role in the Interior Energy Project. AIDEA owns the Titan LNG plant and Fairbanks Natural Gas, which delivers liquefied gas to about 1,100 Fairbanks customers.

The trailer will be tested on the more than 300-mile run from Point MacKenzie to Fairbanks, said AIDEA spokesman Karsten Rodvik. It also will be tested between the North Slope and Fairbanks, a route that includes the rugged Dalton Highway.

AIDEA is evaluating proposals from companies seeking to win state financial help to haul LNG to Fairbanks from Point MacKenzie or the North Slope. Moving LNG by rail from Point MacKenzie is also a possibility.

Dan Britton, chief executive of Fairbanks Natural Gas, said the company has two LNG trailers designed to carry 13,000 gallons. They carry 11,000 gallons at most to stay within weight distribution rules for axles, he said.

Eleven thousand gallons of LNG on average provides heat to 33 to 50 Fairbanks homes in a winter month.

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