LNG Breaks New Ground in Netherlands

| The Netherlands, Rotterdam

National LNG Platform  (Netherlands)LNG as a transport fuel will contribute optimally to the greenification of heavy transport in the Netherlands

The introduction of LNG (liquefied natural gas) as an alternative, cleaner fuel for road transport, inland waterway transport and coastal shipping is expected to bring an extra EUR 2.7 billion (USD 3.55 billion) in economic growth and 8,000 man years between now and 2030 in the Netherlands, according to a survey commissioned by the Ministry of Economic Affairs. The development of LNG is therefore of strategic importance to the Dutch transport sector. It offers the Netherlands opportunities to reinforce its gas hub position and to boost investments and create new jobs.

These are the conclusions of a survey that was conducted by PwC as part of the ‘Rhine and Wadden Green Deal’. The Green Deal involves a partnership between the government and business as well as research and educational institutes, aiming to promote green growth. Today, the National LNG Platform evaluated the results and presented new initiatives. One year after the start of the Green Deal, the new LNG chain is up and running:

  • 7 LNG fuelling stations are operational.
  • 100 LNG trucks are on the road.
  • 2 LNG inland vessels are in service.
  • 1 small-scale LNG tanker ship is in service.
  • A bunkering station for ships is operational.
  • Rotterdam is the first European port to introduce LNG legislation

Ger van Tongeren, chairman of the one-year-old National LNG Platform: ‘There are huge opportunities. In order to capitalize on them, the development of demand and supply should be coordinated. Furthermore, it requires substantial investments. This involves a comprehensive chain: LNG is transported to our country by ship and delivered to the Gate terminal at the Maasvlakte. Through a smaller terminal, it is pumped into tank trucks or bunker ships, that subsequently transport the LNG to fuelling stations or bunkering stations, where trucks and ships refuel. The beauty of it is that the entire chain is represented in our Platform. The Green Deal furthermore enables collaboration with the central government, across several Departments. With respect to excise duty on LNG for freight transport, for instance, we expect to have a solution available for the planned excise duty increase shortly.’

In the area of environmental considerations, there are opportunities and challenges as well. Starting from 2014 (road transport) and 2015 (coastal traffic), the transport sector will be confronted with tightened regulations aimed at substantial emissions reductions. LNG is potentially cleaner and quieter than other types of fuel. The National LNG Platform is currently conducting talks with a number of ecological and environmental protection organizations in order to reach agreements to ensure that the use of LNG as a transport fuel will contribute optimally to the greenification of heavy transport in the Netherlands. The partners are taking a first step in this direction by initiating a joint study to identify the extent to which the use of LNG can lead to net environmental benefits in the various subsectors. The partners are currently deciding on agreements covering topics such as the minimum required CO2 emission reduction and the added value of LNG in reducing the levels of NOx, SOx, particulate matter and noise emissions. An important condition is the reduction of methane slip. Substantial CO2 emission reduction can be achieved by the use of Bio-LNG. In addition, it is of vital importance to ensure that the introduction of LNG takes place in compliance with the preconditions for external safety. In the past year, these were examined by the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment in cooperation with the parties involved.

New initiatives

  • The Gate terminal of Vopak and Gasunie is ready to receive, load and unload small LNG carriers, that will transport LNG to the distribution points and bunkering ships. In the past weekend, the first 7,000-ton LNG carrier (Coral Energy) was unloaded. Approximately by the end of the year, it will be possible to load trucks with LNG destined for roadside fuelling stations.
  • Shell has recently commissioned the Greenstream, the first fully LNG-powered inland navigation tanker ship. A second, similar tanker ship will follow suit in September. In the Netherlands, Shell plans to realize up to seven LNG fuelling stations for freight traffic.
  • Eneco has signed an agreement to start supplying so-called ‘small-scale LNG’ from the second half of 2013. The loading of the vessels will take place at the Gate terminal, which is a novelty for this terminal. Further details will be announced in a separate press release by Eneco.
  • The Port of Amsterdam has recently joined the National LNG Platform and will start to accommodate bunkering from shoreside as from September 2013. The port of Amsterdam will continue to develop into a production location for Bio-LNG.
  • Rotterdam is the first European port where inland vessels can officially bunker LNG. For this purpose, the Port Management Bye-law was amended in order to encourage inland vessels to use LNG as a cleaner type of fuel. The City of Rotterdam and the Port of Rotterdam Authority, part of the Rotterdam Climate Initiative, have joined forces and actively pursued this goal.
  • GDF SUEZ invests in the entire LNG chain, ranging from fuel stations, bunkering facilities and technical solutions to the supply of LNG to customers. The first public station is currently in the process of being commissioned, and will be able to provide continuous supply for sixteen trucks. A second (mobile) station is ready to start providing flexible service to new customers. Over the next three to five years, GDF SUEZ plans to open fifteen LNG fuel stations for road traffic and shipping.
  • Rolande has commissioned the first LNG/CNG fuel station in Tilburg. Approximately 50 trucks will refuel here on a daily basis. Before the year is up, it will be possible to refuel here also on Bio-LNG of Dutch origin.
  • The PGS 33-1 ‘LNG fuelling stations’ guideline is ready. This guideline describes the latest technical knowledge on the design, construction and functioning of LNG fuelling stations. PGS (Publication Series on Dangerous Substances) is intended for companies that work with hazardous substances as well as for licensing and supervising authorities. The new guideline accelerates the realization of an LNG fuelling infrastructure, as it clarifies for all parties concerned which requirements a fuelling station should comply with.

Under leadership of the Taskforce LNG Noord-Nederland, the Energy Valley region is developing the chain for (Bio-)LNG in and around the international waters of the Wadden Sea. In this respect, they collaborate closely with the German LNG-Initiative Nordwest. Their common objective is to facilitate the production, storage and use of (Bio-)LNG as a fuel for the shipping industry, ferry services, short sea shipping, heavy road transport and possibly trains.

National LNG Platform

The National LNG Platform connects companies and government authorities who are committed to the introduction of liquefied natural gas as an alternative fuel in the Netherlands. The objective is to ensure that by 2015, at least 50 inland navigation vessels, 50 seagoing vessels and 500 trucks will be powered by LNG.

(Source: Nationaal LNG Platform)

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