March 12, 2013 / 9:21 PM / 5 years ago

Lockheed Martin enters natural gas world with transport fuel tanks

* Lockheed to build liquefied natural gas fuel tanks

* Tanks will be used in ships, trucks and locomotives

* Marine expected to be biggest market

NEW YORK, March 12 (Reuters) - Lockheed Martin is developing new fuel tanks that will be used on ships, trains and trucks powered with liquefied natural gas, it said in a statement on Tuesday, joining the growing ranks of companies invested in using the abundant domestic fuel in transport.

Garnering expertise from building external space shuttle tanks, the Pentagon’s biggest supplier is already supplying Finish marine engine maker Wartsila with two liquefied natural gas fuel tanks that will be used in medium-sized ocean supply ships, a spokesman said. A deal for six more tanks is in the works.

“Lockheed Martin can manufacture tanks in varying sizes and capacities for multiple transportation applications; this includes distribution by land, rail or waterway,” the company said in the statement. It could also include larger storage tanks for liquefied natural gas.

New drilling technologies have unlocked huge supplies of natural gas in the United States, swamping the market and pushing wholesale prices down to a point where it offers significant cost savings compared to diesel and gasoline.

Last week, BNSF Railway Co said it will run some locomotives on liquefied natural gas to save fuel costs.

The biggest market for Lockheed is expected to be marine, though it was in talks with potential buyers across the transport spectrum, the spokesman said.

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