Qatar, Dutch firms to jointly upgrade energy ports

State-owned Qatar Petroleum and Dutch port operator Havenbedrijf Rotterdam NV have signed a long-term agreement on strategy and development in port management.

Eric Watkins
Senior Correspondent

LOS ANGELES, May 2 -- State-owned Qatar Petroleum and Dutch port operator Havenbedrijf Rotterdam NV have signed a long-term agreement on strategy and development in port management.

QP said it wants to develop its port at Ras Laffan to the highest international standards, while Havenbedrijf wants to strengthen its position as Europe's main energy port, especially for LNG and associated hydrocarbons.

The cooperation was laid out in a memorandum of understanding during a visit of Qatar's Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabr al-Thani to the Netherlands.

The sheikh's visit followed a visit days earlier by Algerian officials who expressed interest in developing an LNG terminal at Maasvlakte, near Rotterdam, along with storage facilities for LNG.

The Dutch government said it will send a delegation to Algeria in the autumn for further discussion of the project.

The meetings underline new policy developments concerning energy in The Netherlands, which is said to be shifting its natural gas policy toward increased imports in an effort to retain its declining reserves, Europe's second-largest after Norway's.

In that new policy, the Dutch government put forward legislation in February to fast-track procedures for large energy infrastructure projects, including LNG installations, along the Rotterdam-Amsterdam corridor as well as around the Port of Eemshaven.

The legislation followed a decision last December by NV Nederlandse Gasunie and Koninklijke Vopak NV when they signed a heads of agreement with Essent NV to further develop the Port of Eemshaven LNG project.

As part of the agreement, Gasunie and Vopak acquired a 25% stake in the project, while Essent kept its 50% stake. The LNG terminal at Eemshaven will have a maximum throughput capacity of 12 billion cu m/year.

Gasunie and Vopak also are partners in the Gate Terminal, the Netherlands' first LNG import facility. Now under construction at Maasvlakte, the Gate Terminal will have an initial throughput capacity of 9 billion cu m/year, but it can be expanded to a maximum of 16 billion cu m/year.

Contact Eric Watkins at hippalus@yahoo.com.

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