LNG infrastructure deal to boost fuel distribution across Europe04 July 2014

A major infrastructure development in the supply of LNG (liquefied natural gas) for transport is underway, with the agreement to build a new 'break bulk' terminal to distribute the fuel around North West Europe.

The investment comes from the Gas Access To Europe (Gate) terminal at the port of Rotterdam, in the Netherlands, and is made possible by a commitment from Shell to buy LNG capacity for freight transport.

The new, dedicated break bulk terminal is expected to be operational in Q4 2016 and will be located alongside the central Gate terminal, where LNG arrives via huge carriers from around the world.

When operational, the new terminal will receive gas in liquid form from the central terminal by pipeline, and break it down into smaller quantities for distribution.

Previously, all LNG arriving at the port was regasified for the power and industrial sector, and re-exported.

Shell will charter a specialised LNG bunker vessel for ship-to-ship transfers and to deliver the fuel to secondary distribution terminals outside the port area.

For truck operators, the terminal's existing truck-loading station will be used to distribute LNG to Shell's initial network of up to seven truck refuelling stations. The first, in Rotterdam, will open later this year.

Maarten Wetselaar, Shell's executive vice president for integrated gas, says the collaboration will provide security of supply of LNG for marine and road transport operators in North West Europe.

"We believe LNG will form a bigger part of the transport fuel mix in the future, and this project demonstrates our confidence in LNG as a fuel option," he states.

Gate is a joint venture between Gasunie, Vopak and OMV.

Pictured, left to right, in front of the 'Green Rhine' LNG-powered tank barge are: Han Fennema, CEO of Gasunie; Maarten Wetselaar, Shell's EVP integrated gas; Eelco Hoekstra, CEO of Vopak; and Allard Castelein, CEO of the port of Rotterdam.

Laura Cork

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