Netherlands sees billion-euro LNG transport boost

Comments: 0

The introduction of LNG in the Netherlands as an alternative fuel for road transport, inland waterway transport and coastal shipping is expected to generate an extra 2.7 billion euros in economic growth and create thousands of jobs between now and 2030, according to a survey commissioned by the Ministry of Economic Affairs.

The survey was conducted by PwC in the context of the “Rhine and Wadden Green Deal” – a partnership between  government, business, and research and educational institutes. The results were published last month by the National LNG Platform, a coordinating body that facilitates the use of LNG as a transport fuel.

Significant progress has already been achieved. A year on from the establishment of  the National LNG Platform: seven LNG fuelling stations are operating; 100 LNG-fuelled  trucks are on the road; two LNG-fuelled inland vessels are in service;  one small-scale LNG tanker ship is in service; and an LNG bunkering station for ships is operating in Rotterdam.

But this is just the beginning. The medium-term objective is to ensure that by 2015, at least 50 inland navigation vessels, 50 sea-going vessels and 500 trucks are being fuelled with LNG.

“There are huge opportunities,” says National LNG Platform chairman Ger van Tongeren. “To capitalise on them, the development of demand and supply should be coordinated. 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 re-fuel.”

Environmental opportunities and challenges: Starting from 2014 for road transport, and 2015 for coastal shipping, the transport sector will face tightened regulations aimed at substantial emissions reductions. LNG – potentially cleaner and quieter than other fuels – is one way for transport operators to comply with the new rules.

Playing a central role in the development of LNG in transport in the Netherlands will be the Gate LNG receiving and regasification terminal, owned by Vopak and Gasunie and located in the port of Rotterdam, where inland vessels can officially bunker LNG.

Following additional investment by the owners, the terminal is ready to receive, load and unload small LNG carriers that will transport LNG to distribution points and bunkering ships. The first 7,000 tonne LNG carrier, Coral Energy, was unloaded a few weeks ago. By around the end of the year, it will be possible to load trucks with LNG destined for roadside fuelling stations.

New initiatives: While LNG is currently playing a tiny role in transport in the Netherlands, the past year has seen several encouraging initiatives.

Shell, for example, recently commissioned Greenstream, the first fully LNG-powered inland navigation tanker ship, and a second such vessel will go into service in September. The company also has plans for up to seven LNG fuelling stations for freight traffic in the Netherlands.

In July Eneco, a 1 Bcm/year capacity holder at the Gate LNG terminal, signed an agreement with AGA Gas for small-scale vessel re-loads at the terminal. The LNG will be utilised in the Scandinavian market for small-scale LNG applications.

The Port of Amsterdam recently joined the National LNG Platform and will start to accommodate bunkering from shoreside as from September. The port will continue to develop into a production location for “bio-LNG”.

GDF Suez has been investing in LNG fuelling stations and the first public station is currently being commissioned. It 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 15 LNG fuel stations for road traffic and shipping.

Rolande recently commissioned the first LNG/CNG fuel station in Tilburg and around 50 trucks will re-fuel here on a daily basis. Before the year is up, it will be possible to re-fuel here with bio-LNG of Dutch origin.

Under the leadership of the Taskforce LNG Noord-Nederland, the Energy Valley region is developing a supply chain for LNG in and around the international waters of the Wadden Sea, in collaboration with the German LNG-Initiative Nordwest. Their common objective is to facilitate production, storage and use of LNG, including bio-LNG, as a fuel for shipping, heavy road transport and possibly trains.

An important development in accelerating the realisation of LNG fuelling infrastructure, says the National LNG Platform, is a new set of guidelines which clarifies the requirements that fuelling stations should comply with. The PGS (Publication Series on Dangerous Substances) 33-1 “LNG fuelling stations” guidelines describe the latest technical knowledge on the design, construction and functioning of LNG fuelling stations.

Related articles:

Related events: