South West European LNG and NG hubs: A focus on Spain

Fernando Impuesto's picture
Fernando Impuesto, Commercial & Technical Services Director, Enagás
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With more than 45 years of experience operating integrated gas infrastructures, Enagás has adapted its facilities to an evolving and dynamic LNG market, switching from the traditional LNG terminal model (unloading, storage and regasification and LNG trucking) into South West European LNG Hubs. In this new model, large and small-scale activities coexist maintaining the high quality of service, security of supply, operative security and efficiency on the processes.

These new logistic services were developed right in time as the Iberian market develops, helping to promote the creation of and Iberian NG Hub in South West Europe while also taking advantage of the increased liquidity and transparent price formation in the market. The Iberian NG Hub started on December 2015 and its liquidity is increasing progressively.

The effective ongoing implementation within the European internal gas market of liquid commercial and physical NG and LNG Hubs in South West Europe, provides an efficient and transparent gas price signal for further development of these new services.

Enagás has moved into LNG multimodal terminals for:

  • Large scale: Regasification, Trans-shipment (unloading, storage and reloading to export), Bulk breaking and Parking Gas
  • Small Scaling: Maritime small scale, LNG trucking, LNG on the train and Bunkering of LNG, to be used as fuel.

LNG terminals being utilised as Hubs provides the basis for enhanced gas use in the European transportation sector, both as road and marine fuel. Greater use of LNG as a transportation fuel is crucial for the EU to meet its energy and environmental policy objectives. On the other hand, LNG terminals provide a platform for alternative gas supply sources to help Europe diversify its imports away from its main supplier. The Spanish LNG plants are strategically located to play an important role in either regard.

Adapting to more demanding market needs requires Enagás to face a number of technical challenges with innovative solutions:

Management model:

  • Operation and Maintenance process optimization.
  • O&M Procedure Certification according to ISO 9001.
  • Implementation of a new Knowledge Management model and ongoing improvement model.

Maximizing efficiency at existing assets by:

  • Increasing energy efficiency at the terminals by new process management (reducing fuel gas) and self- producing electricity.
  • Boil-Off Gas (BOG) management to reduce BOG losses during reloading (zero BOG losses policy).
  • Environmental measures:  zero emissions policy.

Adding efficiency to the classical value chain integrating new logistic services:

Large scale:

  • Adapting LNG terminal to allow reloading LNG from the tank to the cargo.
  • Improving the reloading rate.
  • Efficient slot programming to assure supply and availability.
  • Studies carried out to prove that LNG can remain in tanks during a period of time close to 3 years without problems.
  • Commercial and regulatory developments to adapt the products and the services to the market needs

Small scale:

  • Improving the small scale facilities.
  • Several studies such us HAZOPS, carried out in order to identify and evaluate problems that may present risks to personnel or equipment, or prevent efficient operation.
  • LNG Custody transfer metering accuracy by updating the installed LNG metering devices.

In the current circumstances, the Iberian Peninsula could play an important role as one of the most relevant EU regions for LNG trade. Its geo-strategic position, its increasing organized liquid market, capacity and operating flexibility of its 6 LNG terminals that provide diversification of supply, makes the Iberian Peninsula a unique combination to meet these changing market needs.

Share your insights and join the conversation: Do you believe the Iberian Peninsula will play a vital role for LNG trade? Leave your comment below.

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Image courtesy of Enagás