Yamal LNG, a venture developing a project to export liquefied natural gas from the Russian Arctic, agreed to consider the Belgian receiving terminal of Zeebrugge as a transfer point to move the fuel to Asia from Europe. Yamal LNG and Fluxys, the terminal’s owner, signed an accord today outlining terms for cooperating to transship cargoes of the super- chilled fuel, according to a joint statement. Fluxys, based in Brussels, will start technical, permitting and regulatory processes, it showed. Commercial production at the LNG plant is scheduled to start in 2017.
The project is located on an Ob River estuary that’s iced over for nine months of the year, according to the website of Total SA, one of the venture’s partners. That blocks the direct Northern Sea Route to Asia, so LNG cargoes must be transferred to conventional tankers from ice-class vessels in Europe. OAO Novatek, the Moscow-based main partner, has said the venture aims to supply both Asian and European markets. “If we succeed in attracting transshipment operations to the Zeebrugge LNG terminal, this would be an important project for Fluxys and the port of Zeebrugge,” Walter Peeraer, managing director of the Belgian company, said in the statement. Selecting the terminal as a transshipment point would also “entail a significant volume of ship movements.”
Novatek and Paris-based Total made a final investment decision in December for the project. It’s intended to produce 16.5 million metric tons of LNG a year from three plants, called trains in the industry. Novatek has a 60 percent stake in Yamal LNG, while Total and China National Petroleum Corp., the third partner, own 20 percent each.
The Zeebrugge terminal has operated for more than 25 years with no accidents and gives access to Europe’s pipeline system, Laurent Remy, a spokesman for Fluxys, said by telephone today.
The Arctic venture shortlisted two terminals in Europe as possible transshipment points, Jean-Pierre Mateille, vice- president of trading at Total, said Feb. 26. The partners considered French and Spanish ports as well as Zeebrugge, Philippe Sauquet, president of Total Gas & Power, said in January, without naming the other terminals.
A tender for transshipment services is in final stages, Novatek Chief Financial Officer Mark Gyetvay said Nov. 8. The company is Russia’s second-largest natural-gas producer, Total ranks third among European oil companies, and CNPC is the Asian nation’s biggest producer of crude and gas.