FAQ

Frequently asked questions with answers about a.o. LNG, the location, are mentioned in the overview below.

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Steps LNG terminal

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What steps did you have to take from first idea to where you are now?

2005
We began in July 2005 with a feasibility study. We then embarked upon the licensing procedure and submitted the initial policy document in November 2005. At the same time, we launched the "open season" to allow potential customers to express their interest in the terminal.

2006
In May 2006 we submitted the Environmental Impact Report (EIR), and in November 2006 we were granted the environmental permits necessary to build an LNG terminal.

The first design for the terminal was also completed in mid-2006 and we started the search for a main contractor for the engineering, procurement & construction (EPC). 

2007
In July 2007 we selected a consortium of Techint, Sener, Entrepose and Vinci, an experienced combination of Italian, Spanish and French companies, as the main contractor to execute the engineering, procurement and construction activities and the start-up work for the LNG receiving and regasification terminal on the Maasvlakte (Rotterdam).

In April 2007 the European Commission agreed to the Dutch Minister of Economic Affairs' decision to grant Gate terminal exemption from the regulatory regime laid down in the Dutch Gas Act for a period of 20 years and a capacity of 16 billion cubic metres (bcm) a year.

In April 2007 Gate concluded a 50-year lease with the Port of Rotterdam for a 23-hectare site at Papegaaienbek and the adjacent tank storage site (the final contact signed in December 2007 is for a 35-hectare site). The Port of Rotterdam has developed the area and will build the infrastructure to accommodate the specific layout required for an LNG terminal. Site reclamation is completed.

To plan the LNG carriers into the shipping traffic in Rotterdam, extensive bridge simulations and logistical simulations have been carried out with the aid of the pilot service and the harbour master departments to arrive at a clear admission regime and wind/visibility limits for the safe handling of incoming and outgoing LNG carriers. In practice, as more experience is gained with LNG carriers, normal handling procedures will be introduced for hazardous substances.

The most important step has been commercial. On 17 December 2007 we signed gas throughput contracts with three parties, DONG Energy, Essent and EconGas, for a total capacity of 9 bcm of natural gas per annum (3 bcm each). August 4 th we signet a contract with E.ON Ruhrgas for a capacity of 3 bcm. Together with the previously signed agreements a total annual throughput of 12 bcm will be accommodated by Gate terminal as of the seconde half of 2011.

2008
Economics minister Maria van der Hoeven gave the official go-ahead for the construction work on 28 June 2008.

21 July Gate signed a EUR 745 million senior financing agreement with the European

Investment Bank and a banking syndicate of 10 international relationship banks. Based on the current financing structure Gate will finance these new terminal facilities by raising additional external financing within the coming months. Gate will ask the banks under the project financing arrangements announced on July 21 to incorporate the requirements in their credit facilities.

Planning Gate terminal:

  • Starting construction in 2008
  • Site preparation tanks & process area by Port authorities, first quarter 2008
  • Installation of site accommodation & temporary facilities
  • Construction of LNG outer tanks 
  • Construction of LNG inner tanks 
  • Construction of jetty substructure 
  • Construction of jetty topside 
  • Construction of connecting pipelines and vaporisers
  • Connections to hot water, electricity and natural gas transport pipeline
  • Mechanical completion of the construction work and pre-commissioning activities
  • Introduction of first liquid natural gas to cool and test the plant
  • Final commissioning for commercial operations
  • Ready for commercial operations: September 2011

Gate terminal

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What will be the role of the minority shareholders and will it compromise the terminal's independence?

Management independence is guaranteed. Gasunie and Vopak together have a large majority interest in Gate and will make the greater part of the investments. The minority shareholders have a financial investment and can make interesting technical contributions. In the long run, though, it is just a financial investment. The minority shareholders will have no say in the terminal's commercial policy nor will they have a say in the access for other customers.

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What is an open terminal concept?

Gate terminal is an independent operator. This means that players in the gas market can contract throughput capacity in the terminal. They will do so largely under long-term contracts for substantial volumes of gas each year. Off-takers will be energy companies and also producers that sell their own products.

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On what grounds did the European Commission approve the exemption?

Gate terminal satisfied all necessary conditions to be eligible for an exemption. In addition, the European Commission concluded that the exemption was justified in view of the project's risk profile and the business model, based on the separation of infrastructure and gas trading.

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How will it be delivered to the Dutch natural gas network?

The LNG terminal will be connected to the national distribution system by an underground pipeline to Gasunie’s station at Maasmond (less than a kilometer away). 

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Will the terminal have a positive effect on employment?

Obviously a building project as Gate terminal has a positive effect and creates jobs, especially in the construction phase. During the construction phase of three years on average approximately 400 people worked at the site, up to a maximum of 1200. The terminal itself is not very labor intensive, but is operational seven days a week, 24 hours a day and offers job opportunities for high level technical people. When the LNG terminal is in operation, about 35 people will be employed. 

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Which companies make up the construction consortium?

Safety

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What are the storage risks?

The LNG carriers will be berthed at Gate terminal in a separate canal. This ‘Kleine beer-canal’ will not be accessible to heavier and larger vessels. A small island is created as a natural barrier between Gate terminal and the unloading route. Vessels with a deep draught will be grounded because the harbour will be just 14 metres deep. The carriers will be guided by highly trained pilots and tugs. The Port of Rotterdam Authority accordingly thinks the risk of collision is acceptably low. The pipes that carry the LNG to the tanks will be permanently cooled. Once a carrier is safely moored, communications will open between ship and shore. When the all-clear is given, the unloading arms will be connected. A checklist will be run through and then the arms will be cooled so that the LNG can be discharged. Should anything unexpected happen, a significant number of security measures have been built in, such as automatic stops on the pumps and valves, and the arms are programmed to break loose and dry (without releasing any LNG) if they are in danger of being overextended. Detailed checks are made in advance, this is a worldwide standard procedure for all LNG terminals.

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What is the likelihood of a collision?

In the 50 years that LNG has been carried by ship, there has never been a serious incident involving a significant leakage. Nevertheless, the environmental impact assessment considered the possible consequences of an accident.

The Maritime Research Institute (MARIN) in Wageningen carried out an extensive study of the likelihood of an LNG carrier being involved in a collision on the way to the jetty at the LNG terminal. Its report is appended to the environmental impact report.

The study concluded that the likelihood of a collision was highest at the anchorage, in the Euro channel (both offshore) and when turning out of the Beer channel and the LNG harbour. The leakage of LNG owing to a collision at the berth can be ruled out (head-to-head and side-on collisions are extremely unlikely in the LNG harbour). The likelihood of LNG escaping in the proximity of industrial or residential buildings in the vicinity is therefore very small. It is approximately 2.5 x 10-10 per vessel at most, or a probability of 1 in 4 billion.

On the northeast side of the new harbour, part of Papegaaienbek will be retained as the 'Papegaaienbek Island'. It will effectively separate the LNG carriers in the harbour from other shipping, virtually ruling out the risk of collision with an LNG carrier in the harbour.

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What are the effects of LNG escaping from a vessel?

The environmental impact assessment calculated the distance at which the impact of a collision would still be perceptible in various weather conditions. In the most unfavourable situation, in which the gas cloud does not immediately ignite, an incident near the Beer channel or in the Yangtze harbour would have an impact distance of nearly 1,500 metres. Depending on the wind direction, that is the distance at which the concentration of gas in the air would become lower than the ignition point. Moreover, any gas cloud would rise because the gas is lighter than air. The downwind risk is therefore virtually zero.

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How many ship movements will there be on average given the LNG terminal’s future size/capacity?

For an LNG terminal with a capacity of 8 – 16 billion m3 there would be between three and four ship movements a week on average and about 180 a year.

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Will the delivery of LNG on the Maasvlakte disrupt other ship movements?

The location of the LNG basin has been planned so that the carriers can carry out short and simple maneuvers that maximize safety and minimize disruptions for other ships.

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How safe will the terminal be?

Safety will come first in every phase of every process at the LNG terminal. Safety can be guaranteed because the LNG industry began to develop standard codes, equipment and designs back in the early 1970s and has earned an excellent safety reputation over the years. Gate terminal recognizes the overriding importance of the environment and safety. Both partners conduct strict policies on the environment, health and safety. The terminal’s policy will aim at “no harmful emissions”. Throughout the world, natural gas and LNG are seen as an energy source with a favorable environmental impact. The safety track record of these products is also impressive.

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Experience with LNG?

Gasunie has 30 years’ experience managing and operating an LNG peak shaving plant at the Mississippi dock on the Maasvlakte. A 12-hectare site houses a plant for liquefying natural gas, two LNG storage tanks, a liquid nitrogen storage tank, high pressure pumps and vaporisers. This peak shaver has a maximum capacity of 1.3 million m3 of natural gas per hour. Apart from during periods of peak demand in extremely cold winters, the plant can offer additional support if there are disruptions or failures at a gas producer.

Vopak and Gasunie

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Do Vopak and Gasunie have experience with LNG?

Gasunie operates an LNG peak shaving facility in the port of Rotterdam for 30 years and is therefore familiar with the LNG product. Vopak offers storage facilities for various products, including products under low temperatures or to save under pressure. Knowledge of LNG and storage of products is therefore present by combining Vopak / Gasunie.

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What is the role of an independent terminal operator?

Neither Vopak nor Gasunie will have a commercial interest in the trade in or sale of LNG or natural gas. As independent companies they will offer their services to anyone wishing to use them. Gate terminal will give all customers a fair chance to use the independent LNG import terminal by means of an open season procedure.

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Doesn’t have Gasunie already its own natural gas?

Gasunie was split up on 1 July 2005 into a trading company (Gasunie Trade & Supply) and an infrastructure and transport company (N.V. Nederlandse Gasunie). The latter is participating in Gate terminal with the specific aim of exploiting the growing international gas flows. N.V. Nederlandse Gasunie’s tasks include managing and developing the national gas transport network and transporting gas.

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How will the terminal operator satisfy the statutory requirement to segregate Gasunie’s transport and other activities?

Gas Transport Services B.V. (GTS) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of N.V. Nederlandse Gasunie but operates as an autonomous company as required by law. GTS is responsible for the commercial management, operation and development of the national transport network. It ensures there is sufficient capacity, is responsible for balancing the network and for connections to other networks.

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What does Vopak do?

Vopak is the world’s largest independent tank terminal operator and is specialised in the storage and distribution of liquid and gaseous chemical and oil products. It has a wealth of experience developing and managing independent terminals, handling cargoes carried by tanker and efficiently managing stocks for a variety of customers. One of the goals Vopak has set itself is to expand its core activities in the storage and handling of LNG. For further information, go to www.vopak.com.

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What does Gasunie do?

Gasunie was incorporated in 1963 and has more than 40 years’ experience in the transport of natural gas, gas quality control and efficient supply to the national gas transport network. The network plays an important role in the distribution of natural gas flows to other countries in Europe. Gasunie has operated an LNG peak shaver on the Maasvlakte for 30 years, producing LNG from natural gas and vice versa. During peak periods of extreme cold this plant guarantees the security of supplies in the west of the Netherlands by injecting natural gas into the national network. Gasunie was split up on 1 July 2005 into a trading company (Gasunie Trade & Supply) and an infrastructure and transport company. The latter is participating in the joint venture with Vopak. For further information, go to www.gasunie.nl.

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Why is Vopak interested in an LNG terminal?

The storage of LNG fits perfectly into the strategy growth of Vopak. Global demand for LNG will increase significantly, including the strong growth in demand for cleaner fuels (gas is the cleanest fossil fuel) but also the desire to strategically diversify the energy dependence. Vopak has extensive experience in managing independent terminals, handling cargoes arriving by tanker,  and efficient stock for different combinations of customers. In this case, developing the terminal concept is a new product Vopak. For Vopak, as an independent terminal operator, the development of a terminal concept for a new product is key. This is one of our lines of growth based on a trusted business model. Ultimately we want to satisfy our customers worldwide. Vopak envisions a diversification at user side and liberalization of the distribution channel. This underlines the need for independent parties for the infrastructure.

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What are the interests of Gasunie to participate in a LNG terminal?

For infrastructure company Gasunie, Gate terminal is a location where a large amount of new gas comes into the Gasunie grid, both for use in the Netherlands as a transit to neighboring countries. This reinforces the role of the Netherlands as a European gas roundabout. Gasunie and Vopak also want to support the companies who will deliver and buy gas from a terminal providing the best logistics and efficient management of the terminal. Gasunie itself also has a special interest in technical solutions which guarantee a good fit to the Dutch gas transport network.

Location LNG terminal

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How will the terminal be connected to the Dutch natural gas network?

The LNG terminal will be connected to the national distribution system by means of an underground pipeline to Gasunie’s station at Maasmond (less than a kilometre away). For further information, see appendix 3 to the notification of intent for the environmental impact assessment.

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Why did you choose Rotterdam?

Rotterdam is an excellent location for an LNG import terminal. It provides the best access for LNG carriers (also for the latest generation of large vessels – Q-flex and Q-max) and all necessary support and handling facilities are available, such as pilots, tugs and shipping management. There is a huge market for natural gas in the region and industrial complexes in the direct vicinity provide opportunities for synergy (for example through the use of residual heat). Moreover, the connection to the existing gas transport grid is less than 2 km.

Liquefied Natural Gas

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What is LNG?

Liquefied Natural Gas – or LNG – is a clear, odourless liquid produced by cooling natural gas to minus 162°C. In this liquid state, the volume of LNG is about 600 times less than that of natural gas. It can therefore be stored and transported very efficiently. If gas needs to be carried over long distances, LNG is a particularly good alternative to gas transport by pipeline.

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Where does LNG come from?

Most LNG comes from areas where large volumes of natural gas have been discovered such as North Africa, the Middle East and the West Indies. Countries that produce LNG include Trinidad, Nigeria, Algeria, Egypt, Oman, Qatar, Indonesia, Malaysia and Australia.

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What is the difference between LNG and LPG?

Liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and LNG are often confused with each other. LPG consists chiefly of propane (C3H8) and butane (C4H10), and is used mainly in domestic and commercial applications (such as fuel for cars). LPG is liquefied by holding it under high pressure. LNG, by contrast, is a liquid at atmospheric pressure but at a very low temperature (approx. – 162°C). LPG's specific gravity is also totally different from LNG's: components are lighter than air and the gas does not disperse if it escapes. LNG (natural gas), by contrast, is heavier than air and disperses and rarefies very quickly into a mixture that is no longer flammable. The storage of LPG at pressure, unlike the storage of LNG at low temperature, requires the use of very different equipment (other material properties, thicknesses, insulation) and standards.

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How does LNG fits in the energy policy of the Dutch government?

Also in the future, The Netherlands want  to play a key role in the trade of gas. The Netherlands has a strong position with its gas production and storage and the extensive network of pipelines. Through new pipeline connections to for example the UK and also from Russia, but also including LNG terminals, this will strengthen this position. Gate terminal plays an important role in the further development of the Dutch gas roundabout. This will also contribute to the increased security of supply.

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What happens at an LNG receiving terminal?

LNG arrives at the terminal by ship, is stored in tanks, warmed (or regasified) and then delivered to the gas transport network. At this point, its use is identical to that of conventional natural gas.

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How will the LNG be stored?

The LNG will be stored in specially designed full containment tanks. A full containment tank consists of a metal inner tank and a concrete outer tank. Thermal insulation between the steel inner tank and the concrete outer tank will limit the evaporation of LNG to about 0.07% of the tank’s content per day.

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Where will the LNG be sent to?

The gas that is regasified from the LNG will be delivered to the gas transport network and supplied to both domestic and industrial customers in the Netherlands. The proposed LNG terminal on the Maasvlakte will also be an important supply point for the rest of Europe.

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What is the environmental impact of LNG?

From the moment the LNG is regasified, the environmental impact is identical to that of natural gas (e.g. fewer CO2 emissions on combustion in comparison with coal). The energy needed for the regasification process can be produced by using some of the gas itself. If there is direct environmental exposure, for example through leakage, LNG causes less damage than an oil spill since it will immediately regasify.

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Why is LNG imported to the Netherlands?

Natural gas supplies in northwest Europe, including the Netherlands, are projected to fall in the foreseeable future, yet demand will continue to grow. To avoid shortages, an additional supply of natural gas is required, either through the import of natural gas by pipeline, principally from Russia, or through the shipment of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG). An LNG terminal would be a decisive factor to increase imports of gas from other countries and sources to northwest Europe. It would improve not only the security of supplies but also the ability of new players to enter the northwest European gas market.

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Why will demand for natural gas continue to increase?

Demand for natural gas is forecast to rise sharply. In northwest Europe, it was expected to increase from 340 billion cubic metres (BCM) in 2003 to 440 BCM in 2010 (Eurogas annual report, 2003-2004, page 29). The main customers are electricity companies, chemical and petro-chemical companies, countless other industries, businesses and private individuals. The growing demand is being fed by three main developments:

 

  • greater welfare in the European Union accompanied by higher energy consumption;
  • a sharp increase in the use of natural gas in preference to coal to generate green electricity;
  • the enlargement of the European Union and the attendant increase in welfare in the new member states.

Demand is expected to be tempered, though, by increased efficiency in the domestic use of gas.

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Are there already LNG terminals in Europe or the rest of the world?

There are terminals in Belgium, France, Spain, Portugal, Italy and Great Britain. Several European countries also have plans to build more terminals and to expand existing terminals. This shows how important many people think LNG is as a reliable source of energy. Several LNG terminals have been operating in Europe since the 1970s and further growth in the number of receiving stations is forecast in the coming decade.

 

There are also terminals in North and Central America and in Asia and several new construction projects are underway.

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Can’t the gas be transported to the Netherlands by pipeline?

A lot of gas is already piped from neighbouring countries to the Netherlands. But the volume of LNG is far less than that of natural gas (the necessary storage space is 600 times smaller). This makes it a lot easier to transport LNG over long distances. This is significant for countries that have substantial natural gas reserves but lack the infrastructure necessary to pipe gas to consumer markets. Furthermore, natural gas produced as a by-product (associated gas) during oil extraction is currently flared off but could be put to far better use as LNG. When will the Netherlands run out of gas? Many studies have been made of the development of energy policy in the years ahead. Further information is available at www.energieraad.nl and www.minez.nl.

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When does the Netherlands run out of gas?

There has been done much research focused on the development of a energy policy for the coming years. Have a look at the following website: www.energieraad.nl or www.minez.nl.

LNG loading station, Gate terminal, Rotterdam

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What is Gate terminal?

Gate terminal is the first Dutch LNG import terminal. Liquefied natural gas (LNG) can be discharged here by ships and then converted back into gas form at the terminal so that it can be carried through the natural gas network. Every year, Gate terminal can receive, convert back to gas and supply to the gas network approximately a third of all the natural gas consumed by Dutch households. 

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What is the LNG Beak Bulk project of Gate terminal?

A facility for handling smaller quantities of liquid natural gas on the Maasvlakte. This is taking place next to the already existing Gate terminal. We are building a loading point for inland vessels and smaller sea-going vessels on a new quay to facilitate the small-scale distribution (up to approx. 20,000 m3 per ship) of liquid natural gas. We are starting construction work by the end of 2014 and this will be completed by the end of 2016.

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Why is Gate terminal becoming involved in the LNG Break Bulk project?

LNG produces much lower emissions than fuel based on crude oil, and virtually no fine dust. LNG is therefore a very suitable fuel for trucks and ships, particularly in areas where the environmental standards are or will become more stringent.

But this fuel does have to be distributed to filling stations (trucks) and bunker stations (ships). To make this possible, Gate terminal is now building a separate handling facility where tankers and bunker vessels can load up with LNG for further distribution.

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Where on the Gate site will this new facility be located? Please provide a detailed map, therefore also showing precisely where the jetties, tanks, route of the pipelines, etc. will be.

The new facility will be on a new site, next to the existing Gate terminal. Connections will be made to the existing terminal so that the LNG can be transported by pipeline from the tanks to the new quay. A dock will also be dug on the new site. (see also artist make-up below)

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Can you also give an idea of what the infrastructure will look like later? Preferably using a number of images and, if possible, animations. All details please!

  • Maximum length of ship: 175 metres
  • Maximum width: 25 metres
  • Maximum draught (loaded): 7.5 metres
  • Number of loading arms: 3
  • Maximum capacity: 20000 m3
  • Number of ships per annum: 280 (maximum, depending on size)
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What is already in place for the new facility, and what still needs to be built? What is the timetable for this?

On the site for the new facility, a start will first be made on digging the basin for the new dock, after which the quay wall can be built. At that point, we will also start construction work on the pipelines connecting the existing Gate terminal to the loading point for the new jetty.

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What is the official name?

At the moment, we are using the working title LNG Break Bulk Rotterdam (LBBR). 

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Why an LNG break bulk facility?

From 2015, more stringent environmental requirements will apply, particularly relating to emissions from shipping. In addition to the emission requirements for ships, the rules relating to trucks will also become increasingly strict. LNG is the only fossil fuel that complies with these environmental requirements without any additional processing. Gate terminal was developed as an import terminal, where LNG is brought in on ships and dispatched again as gas. LNG as transport fuel must be dispatched as LNG and this requires the development of an LNG break bulk facility next to Gate terminal.

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Who took the initiative for this project?

As with the development of Gate terminal, Vopak and Gasunie took the initiative. Jointly, Vopak and Gasunie hold 95% of the shares in Gate terminal, whilst the Austrian concern OMV is a minority shareholder with 5%.

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What interests do Vopak and Gasunie have in an LNG Break Bulk?

They are both major shareholders in Gate terminal.

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What is Gate terminal’s involvement in all this?

Gate terminal is a large-scale import and transit terminal for natural gas and is now extending its services to include transfer to distributors for small-scale LNG use. 

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Why did Vopak and Gasunie choose a location next to Gate terminal?

LNG comes in at Gate terminal on the Maasvlakte Rotterdam. It is therefore logical to build a handling facility right next to this.

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Is there a need to build new large facilities?

The planned break bulk facility will be considerably smaller than Gate terminal; it involves a few pipelines which bring in the LNG and a quay for transport vessels to moor so that the LNG can be loaded on board.

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How will the connection be made at Gate terminal?

Via a transport pipeline from Gate terminal to the handling facility.

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When will the handling facility be ready?

According to our timetable, the project will be fully completed by the end of 2016.

LNG and background to natural gas supply

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How does LNG Break Bulk fit into Dutch government policy?

In June 2012, the initiators signed the “Green Deal LNG Wadden and Rhine” with Minister Verhagen and State Secretary Atsma. The aim here is to have at least 50 inland vessels, 50 sea-going vessels and 500 trucks running on LNG in 2015. This new chain begins on Rotterdam’s Maasvlakte, at Gate terminal, where LNG enters the Netherlands via large tankers. 

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Are there already any LNG Break Bulk terminals in Europe?

There are a number of LNG satellite and smaller liquefaction facilities in Northwest Europe but, generally speaking, the larger import terminals lack the infrastructure.

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What is LNG?

Liquefied Natural Gas - or LNG - is a clear, colourless liquid that arises when natural gas is cooled to -162? C. In liquid form, LNG takes up about 600 times less space than ordinary natural gas, so that it can be stored and transported very efficiently. LNG is a good alternative to gas transport by pipeline particularly over long distances.

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Where does the LNG pass on its way out of the terminal?

Via the transport pipeline, it passes from Gate terminal to the handling facility, after which it is loaded into ships. 

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How is LNG brought in at the moment?

LNG tankers bring in LNG at Gate terminal.  

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How is LNG transported away at the moment?

By heating the liquid LNG to normal temperature, it changes back into gas. It then travels via the Gasunie pipeline network to end users throughout Northwest Europe.

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What is the difference between LNG and LPG?

Liquid petroleum gas (LPG) is often confused with LNG and vice versa. LPG consists mainly of propane (C3H8 ) and butane (C4H10), and is used primarily for domestic and commercial purposes (also car traffic). LPG remains liquid because it is highly pressurized. 

This is in contrast to LNG: here, the pressure is normal (atmospheric pressure) and it remains liquid by being kept at a very low temperature (approx. -162°C). The characteristics of LPG are also very different from those of LNG: natural gas is lighter than air and therefore disperses and rarefies quickly, in contrast to the LPG components, which are heavier than air.

LPG is stored under high pressure, in contrast to LNG, which is stored at atmospheric pressure, but at a very low temperature. This results in the use of very different materials (other material qualities, thickness, insulation), but these differences also mean that the procedures and standards for working with LNG are also different from those with LPG.

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What happens at an LNG Break Bulk terminal? How is LNG stored?

The LNG Break Bulk facility is not for the storage of LNG; this is done at the existing Gate terminal facilities. Here, LNG is stored in specially designed, large scale full containment tanks. A full containment tank consists of a metal inner tank and an outer tank made completely of concrete, 55 metres high in the middle with a diameter of approx. 86 metres. Thermal insulation between the steel inner tank containing LNG and the concrete outer tank means that the LNG hardly heats up.

From these existing storage tanks, pipelines will shortly be laid to the LNG Break Bulk facility, where the pipelines will bring in the LNG that is loaded into the ships via the loading arms.

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Where will the LNG go?

At the moment, the gas enters the Gasunie gas network and is distributed throughout Europe. With the development of the handling facility, it will be possible to use LNG from Gate all over Northwest Europe as an alternative fuel to current and more environmentally harmful fuels.

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What is the impact of LNG on the environment?

LNG is liquefied natural gas; it is therefore, like natural gas from the gas network, the cleanest fossil fuel available. When using LNG as fuel in small-scale applications, such as transport or for isolated industry, less CO2 is therefore emitted than with oil products, virtually no nitrogen and fine dust, and it is a completely sulphur-free fuel. It is thus an affordable and cleaner alternative to oil products.

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How can LNG be used for small-scale applications?

-LNG can be used for export from Gate terminal to smaller reception terminals, for example in the Baltic region. 

-LNG can be used as bunker fuel for sea-going vessels.

-LNG can be used as bunker fuel for inland vessels.

-LNG can be used as fuel for trucks.

-LNG can be used by industries which are not connected to the gas network and now often use oil or propane as energy source.

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What are the main reasons for starting to use LNG as transport fuel?

-LNG as a fuel has positive effects on the environment and health. With the combustion of natural gas, a lot less fine dust, nitrogen, sulphur and other emissions are released. By using LNG as fuel on the Dutch market, a potential use of 2-3 million tonnes of LNG as transport fuel (2030) instead of diesel will reduce CO2 emissions up to 25%, SO2 by 100%, NOx by almost 90% and fine dust by 400–600 tonnes a year.

-Gas-fired engines using LNG are quieter than diesel engines; the difference is so great that trucks running on LNG can be used at night for distribution where trucks are now only allowed during the day to prevent noise nuisance.

-The increasing use of LNG enhances the good economic position of the Netherlands as ‘gas hub’ of Northwest Europe.

-From 2015, much stricter standards will apply to sulphur emissions in European and American coastal waters. This so-called Sulphur Emission Control Area (SECA) legislation makes it necessary for newly built ships to order engines which run on LNG.

-Significant cost savings can be achieved on fuel consumption in ships because 80% of the operational costs of a ship consists of fuel costs. LNG is a cheaper and cleaner fuel.

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Is the use of LNG as fuel new?

No; in this respect, Europe is lagging behind Asia, for example. Globally, 15 million cars already run on natural gas; in China and the US, thousands of trucks use LNG. In the Netherlands, we have also seen trucks using LNG in recent years, for example those belonging to Albert Heijn and Vos Logistics; the current total is around 230. At the moment, 4 Dutch inland vessels are running on LNG with positive results.

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Why is LNG needed as fuel?

The environmental requirements for the transport sector are becoming increasingly stringent. Engines have to be cleaner, more economical and quieter and inland and sea-going vessels in the North Sea and Baltic area will have to comply with stricter sulphur standards as of 2015.

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How does LNG as transport fuel contribute to Dutch climate objectives?

The use of LNG as transport fuel is in line with the future vision of a sustainable energy supply because natural gas is the cleanest fossil fuel. In time, fossil LNG can be replaced by LNG from biomass that comes from organic residual flows. In the meantime, LNG as transport fuel provides a cleaner and affordable alternative to diesel and fuel oil and can facilitate the transition to a completely sustainable energy supply. Just as important is the direct benefit to public health in populated areas; natural gas, and thus also LNG, produces much less nitrogen and fine dust when combusted and it produces a lot less noise.

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How else can CO2 emissions be reduced?

The climate problem is an extensive one that is being tackled simultaneously on many fronts. This means different natural alternatives, but these also have their disadvantages or they are not yet sufficiently developed. Take the use of biofuels or electricity. Many alternatives still produce too little energy so there is still a need for fossil fuels. The importance of LNG can be seen from the fact that this project forms the basis of one of the Green Deals with the government. The aim here is to have at least 50 inland vessels, 50 sea-going vessels and 500 trucks running on LNG in 2015. In June 2012, the initiators signed the “Green Deal LNG Wadden and Rhine” with Minister Verhagen and State Secretary Atsma. This new chain begins on Rotterdam’s Maasvlakte, at Gate terminal, where LNG enters the Netherlands via large tankers. 

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How does the use of LNG in transport benefit the Netherlands?

•In 2013, PwC was commissioned by the Ministry of Economic Affairs to look into the economic impact of the introduction of LNG for transport on the basis of scenario analysis. In the medium scenario, the study showed that LNG for transport would yield around €2.7 billion in economic growth and 8000 working years up to 2030.

oReport: www.rijksoverheid.nl/bestanden/documenten-en-publicaties/rapporten/2013/09/02/the-economic-impact-of-small-scale-lng/310507-economic-impact-of-small-scale-lng-stc.pdf

•LNG can make a great contribution towards reducing emissions of harmful substances such as nitrogen, sulphur and fine dust. Various Dutch cities are taking active measures to reduce these emissions and LNG can help here and make a contribution towards improving public health.

•Switching to LNG offers the transport sector in the Netherlands and Northwest Europe the opportunity to take the lead when it comes to making transport cleaner and more affordable, and in this way improve its competitive position and contribute towards the goals relating to climate, the environment and public health.

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Waarom nu pas LNG als brandstof?

We are actually acting very quickly. Gate terminal has only been open since 2011 and we are already involved in facilitating the distribution of LNG as fuel. 

LNG and safety

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Is LNG dangerous?

LNG is a colourless, non-flammable liquid. It is not toxic or poisonous and has no odour whatsoever. It is so cold that it cannot combust. To put it more strongly, you could stub out a cigarette in it without causing a fire. If it evaporates and turns back into a gas, is it like natural gas from a gas cooker; it can only combust with the right air-gas ratio.

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What happens if LNG escapes after all?

LNG will evaporate immediately because it heats up due to its surroundings. It does not mix with water, will not float and cannot be absorbed into the ground. Before it can combust, it must first evaporate and the LNG-air ratio must be just right; i.e. 5-10% of the air must be made up of natural gas. If there is too much or too little natural gas, it is non-flammable. Whether or not this ratio is good depends, among other things, on the weather; if it is windy, natural gas disperses and there will not be a good ratio. Moreover, there must also be something to ignite it. LNG will never spontaneously combust.

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Is LNG safe to use?

Yes, the use of LNG as transport fuel is definitely safe. It is already a long-accepted fuel throughout the world for use in trucks, cars and ships. Industry has built up an excellent safety reputation in the more than 50 years that LNG has been used.

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How safe is the transport of LNG by ship?

•LNG has been transported by ship since the 1960s and there have been no serious incidents in the past fifty years. 

•In the port, we will load the ships in a separate dock so that the chance of collision with other vessels is very small. The risk of collision during loading and discharging is therefore minimal.

•LNG ships must announce their arrival 24 hours in advance to the Harbour Master and are obliged to take a pilot on board. This actually applies to all sea-going vessels which carry dangerous goods. In addition, it is stipulated in the Port Regulations, among other places, that only LNG ships may enter the LNG basin. Other ships are not permitted. Moreover, the ships are inspected periodically to check that they still comply with the strict safety standards. Without this periodic check, the ships may not load LNG at our handling facility.

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How is safety guaranteed?

The new LNG port has been built in such a way that it can be reached with short, simple manoeuvres and is separated from through shipping traffic. The port of Rotterdam also has modern Vessel Traffic Services (VTS) and a high level of nautical services (pilots, tugs and linesmen). The port is geared fully towards enforcing the safety standards in a professional manner and strict safety procedures are applied. The government imposes strict requirements on the transport of LNG, just like the transport of other dangerous goods.

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Does the landing of smaller vessels carrying LNG disrupt existing shipping?

No, this can be incorporated into the existing shipping traffic. 

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What is the approach to the safety aspects?

As with Gate terminal, the facility must comply with the high safety standards which are imposed by industry and the competent authorities.

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What is the impact of LNG on the environment?

LNG as a fuel will improve the quality of life in this region. (LNG produces no fine dust, no sulphur and lower CO2 emissions).

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What about the risks as a result of operations during storage and handling?

Operations are restricted to a minimum, so too are risks by means of procedures and automation. 

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What is the chance of a collision?

By building a special LNG basin which may only be accessed by LNG ships and LNG-related ships, we reduce the risk of collision to a minimum.

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What are the effects if LNG escapes from a ship?

The ships in which LNG is transported have double hulls so that the risk of leakage during a collision is minimal. Should this happen after all, and LNG escapes into the water, then the cold liquid will immediately heat up due to the ambient temperature and the warmer water and the resulting gas cloud will rise and disperse. The LNG will not dissolve or mix with water, but disappear as gas because it is lighter than air. A cloud will be visible around the leakage; this is not a gas cloud, but condensing water vapour due to the cold that is released from the LNG. The flammable natural gas has already risen up out of this.

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How many more ship movements, on average, are we talking about when we look at the scale/capacity of the planned LNG Break Bulk?

Within a period of 10 years, we expect growth to be such that we will be able to handle around 280 ships a year with this facility.   

LNG Break Bulk project

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Who took the initiative for this project?

As with the development of Gate terminal, Vopak and Gasunie took the initiative. Jointly, Vopak and Gasunie hold 100% of the shares in Gate terminal.

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What interests do Vopak and Gasunie have in an LNG Break Bulk?

They are both major shareholders in Gate terminal and see a future for LNG as fuel for ships and trucks.

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What is Gate terminal’s involvement in all this?

Gate terminal is a large-scale import and transit terminal for natural gas and is now extending its services to include transfer to distributors for small-scale LNG use.

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What is the LNG Beak Bulk project of Gate terminal??

The LNG Break Bulk project of Gate terminal is a handling facility by means of which smaller quantities of liquid natural gas can be pumped into bunker vessels and smaller tankers for inland shipping and short sea. These can then supply vessels which use LNG as fuel (this is done by the bunker vessels) or take LNG to other areas in Northwest Europe or the European interior where they supply industry or bunker stations for inland vessels (this is done by the inland tankers which are loaded at Gate terminal).
In this connection, we are building a new quay with a loading point for smaller tankers and bunker vessels to facilitate the small-scale distribution (up to approx. 20,000 m3 per ship) of liquid natural gas. We are starting construction work by the end of 2014 and this will be completed by the end of 2016.

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What is Gate terminal?

Gate terminal is the first Dutch LNG import terminal. Liquefied natural gas (LNG) can be discharged here by ships and then converted back into gas form at the terminal so that it can be carried through the natural gas network. Every year, Gate terminal can receive, convert back to gas and supply to the gas network approximately a third of all the natural gas consumed by Dutch households.

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Why is Gate terminal becoming involved in the LNG Break Bulk project?

From 2015, more stringent emission requirements will apply for shipping and the rules for trucks will also become increasingly strict. LNG is the only fossil fuel that complies with these environmental requirements without any additional processing. LNG produces much lower emissions than fuel based on crude oil, and virtually no fine dust. LNG is therefore a very suitable fuel for trucks and ships, particularly in areas where the environmental standards are or will become more stringent. But this fuel does have to be distributed to filling stations (trucks) and bunker stations (ships). Gate terminal already has a loading point for LNG tankers which supply filling stations. This facility can load 5,000 tankers a year with LNG. So that it can also load ships with LNG, Gate terminal is building a separate handling facility. There, bunker vessels will be able to take on board LNG for further distribution.

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Are there already any LNG Break Bulk terminals in Europe?

No, there are not. Gate terminal, controlled by Vopak and Gasunie, is the first terminal in Europe where LNG will be transferred to bunker vessels and smaller tankers for further distribution as fuel. Up to now, LNG as fuel has been brought into Europe via tankers, which are also loaded at Gate terminal.

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Why was a location next to Gate terminal chosen?

LNG comes in at Gate terminal on the Maasvlakte Rotterdam. It is therefore the most efficient option, in all respects, to build a handling facility right next door.

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What will change at the Gate terminal site?

The new facility will be on a new site, next to the existing Gate terminal. On the new site, a dock will first be dug. A quay will then be constructed where ships can moor. Pipelines will subsequently be laid to provide a connection to the existing terminal. The LNG will then be transported from the tanks to the new quay via these pipelines.

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    What will the facility look like?

    • Maximum length of ship: App. 160 metres
    • Maximum width: 25 metres
    • Maximum draught (loaded):  7.5 metres
    • Number of loading arms: 3
    • Maximum capacity: 20.000 m3
    • Number of ships per annum: 280 (maximum, depending on size)
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    When will the handling facility be ready?

    According to our schedule, the project will be fully completed in Q4 2016.

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    When and where can we get hold of more information?

    We will keep track of how the work is progressing on our website

    Why LNG?

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    Does LNG as transport fuel also contribute to Dutch climate objectives?

    Using LNG instead of oil-based fuel immediately reduces emissions. But it is still a fossil fuel. In time, fossil LNG can be replaced by LNG from biomass that comes from organic residual flows. Switching  to LNG is therefore in line with the transition to a completely sustainable energy supply. In the meantime, LNG as transport fuel is a cleaner and more affordable alternative to diesel and fuel oil.

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    What is the impact of LNG on the environment?

    LNG is liquefied natural gas; it is therefore, like natural gas from the gas network, the cleanest fossil fuel available. When using LNG as fuel in small-scale applications, such as transport or for isolated  industry, less CO2 is therefore emitted than with oil products, virtually no nitrogen and fine dust, and it is a completely sulphur-free fuel. It is thus an affordable and cleaner alternative to oil products.

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    How much energy does it take to liquefy natural gas? In other words: how many cubic metres of natural gas does it take to convert one hundred cubic metres of natural gas into LNG?

    Liquefying natural gas is a question of extreme cooling, to at least -160? C. That takes about 10% of the energy of the natural gas you are liquefying. So, to liquefy 100 m3 of natural gas, you need about 10 m3 of natural gas. You take this natural gas directly from the source, which is economical in terms of costs.

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    How many cubic metres of natural gas does it take to convert one hundred cubic metres of natural gas into LNG?

    Liquefying natural gas is a question of extreme cooling, to at least -160? C. That takes about 10% of the energy of the natural gas you are liquefying. So, to liquefy 100 m3 natural gas. You take this natural gas directly from the source, which is economical in terms of costs. of natural gas, you need about 10 m3

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    How much energy does it take to keep LNG liquid?

    Nothing. Once it is liquid, you only need to keep it well insulated. You do not need to cool it further. 

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    How much energy does it take to convert LNG back into a gas for use in the engine of a boat or truck?

    It does not take any extra energy. The LNG is converted back into a gas in a heat exchanger. Such a heat exchanger is actually a heating radiator in reverse: the LNG is passed through the radiator (heat exchanger) and, by increasing the surface area, it absorbs heat from the surrounding air via the metal.

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    How much energy does it take to convert LNG back into a gas so that it can be fed back into the gas network?

    That does not take any extra energy at Gate terminal. The heat needed to reheat LNG and convert it back into a gas is residual heat from local businesses, particularly the EON power station. If Gate terminal did not use this heat, it would be cooled in the cooling water basins by the fresh air. 

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    How can LNG be used for small-scale applications?

    • LNG can be used for export from Gate terminal to smaller reception terminals, for example in the Baltic region.
    • LNG can be used as bunker fuel for sea-going vessels.
    • LNG can be used as bunker fuel for inland vessels.
    • LNG can be used as fuel for trucks.
    • LNG can be used by industries which are not connected to the gas network and now often use oil or propane as energy source.
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    What are the main reasons for starting to use LNG as transport fuel?

    • LNG as a fuel has positive effects on the environment and health. With the combustion of natural gas, a lot less fine dust, nitrogen, sulphur and other emissions are released. The use of LNG instead of oil-based fuels reduces CO2 emissions by up to 20%, SO2 by 100%, NOx by almost 90% and fine dust by 400 to 600 tonnes a year.
    • Gas-fired engines using LNG are quieter than diesel engines; the difference is so great that trucks running on LNG can be used at night for distribution where trucks are now only allowed during the day to prevent noise nuisance.
    • The increasing use of LNG enhances the good economic position of the Netherlands as ‘gas hub’ of Northwest Europe.
    • From 2015, much stricter standards will apply to sulphur emissions in European and American coastal waters. This so-called Sulphur Emission Control Area (SECA) legislation makes it necessary for newly built ships to order engines which run on LNG.
    • Significant cost savings can be achieved on fuel consumption in ships because 80% of the operational costs of a ship consists of fuel costs. LNG is a cheaper and cleaner fuel.
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    How does LNG as transport fuel contribute to Dutch climate objectives?

    The use of LNG as transport fuel is in line with the future vision of a sustainable energy supply because natural gas is the cleanest fossil fuel. In time, fossil LNG can be replaced by LNG from biomass that comes from organic residual flows. In the meantime, LNG as transport fuel provides a cleaner and affordable alternative to diesel and fuel oil and can facilitate the transition to a completely sustainable energy supply. Just as important is the direct benefit to public health in populated areas; natural gas, and thus also LNG, produces much less nitrogen and fine dust when combusted and it produces a lot less noise.

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    How does LNG Break Bulk fit into Dutch government policy?

    In June 2012, the “Green Deal LNG Wadden and Rhine” was signed with Minister Verhagen and State Secretary Atsma. The aim here is to have at least 50 inland vessels, 50 sea-going vessels and 500 trucks running on LNG in 2015.. This new chain begins on Rotterdam’s Maasvlakte, at Gate terminal, where LNG enters the Netherlands via large tankers. 

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    How does the use of LNG in transport benefit the Netherlands?

    • In 2013, PwC was commissioned by the Ministry of Economic Affairs to look into the economic impact of the introduction of LNG for transport on the basis of scenario analysis. In the medium scenario, the study showed that LNG for transport would yield around €2.7 billion in economic growth and 8000 working years up to 2030.
    • LNG can make a great contribution towards reducing emissions of harmful substances such as nitrogen, sulphur and fine dust. Various Dutch cities are taking active measures to reduce these emissions and LNG can help here and make a contribution towards improving public health.
    • Switching to LNG offers the transport sector in the Netherlands and Northwest Europe the opportunity to take the lead when it comes to making transport cleaner and more affordable, and in this way improve its competitive position and contribute towards the goals relating to climate, the environment and public health.
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    Is the use of LNG as fuel new?

    No; in this respect, Europe is lagging behind Asia, for example. Globally, 15 million cars already run on natural gas; in China and the US, thousands of trucks use LNG. In the Netherlands, we have also seen trucks using LNG in recent years, for example those belonging to Albert Heijn and Vos Logistics; the current total is around 230. At the moment, there are 5 Dutch inland vessels running on LNG with positive results.

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    Why wait till now with LNG as fuel?

    In Europe, Gate terminal is the first to make LNG suitable for small-scale distribution so that it can be used as fuel for ships and trucks. Gate terminal has only been open since 2011 and we are already involved in facilitating the distribution of LNG as fuel.