Polskie LNG, the operator of the Polish LNG terminal under construction on the Baltic coast at Swinoujscie, is looking to broaden its customer base by developing LNG-as-fuel services for trucks and shipping, the terminal's director of operations said on Thursday.
The planned 5 billion cubic metre (Gm³)/year capacity terminal will be equipped with a truck loading station, which currently can deliver around 177,750 tonnes per annum (tpa) of LNG, the equivalent of 5% of the terminal's capacity, Wojciech Cudny told at the Global LNG Forum in Marseille.
Transporting LNG by road is a particularly useful alternative for supplying natural gas to industrial sites in Europe where pipeline supplies are not available, and Cudny said that the service is essential in parts of northeast and northwest Poland that are not connected to the network.
The planned truck loading service at the terminal is already fully subscribed, and there is room for expansion of another loading base as well as offering a rail loading service if demand is sufficient, Cudny said.
The Polskie LNG official said the terminal's location, next to the second-largest port in Poland, also gave it the option to tap into growing demand for LNG as a shipping fuel by offering LNG bunkering services.
The 1% sulphur-content limit in marine fuels in the Baltic Sea (and the North Sea and English Channel will be cut to 0.1% from 1 January 2015) is driving vessel owners to focus on LNG as the most cost-efficient alternative to expensive low-sulphur bunker oil.
Open season on hold
Polish natural gas incumbent PGNiG is the sole company holding capacity at the terminal, with a 65% share, or around 3.2Gm³/year.
The remaining capacity was made available to the market late last year but the sole bid submitted by the end of the open season late January was rejected.
While Polskie LNG is exploring its options to market the remaining 1.8Gm³/year, the terminal operator has no immediate plans to offer the capacity again.
"Capacity is not available at the moment but another open season will be organised before the start-up," Cudny said.
With the construction of a jetty set to start in July, the terminal is expected to receive its first cool-down cargo by March 2014 for a commercial start-up in June that year.
The facility will be capable of receiving vessels up to Q-Flex size (210,000-216,000m³).
Neither Polskie LNG, nor PGNiG have finalised any supply agreements for the terminal, although Cudny said that a 20-year, 1mtpa heads of agreement signed between PGNiG and Qatari supply consortium Qatargas in 2009 had not lapsed.
"The deal between PGNIG and Qatargas is still on and will be starting at full capacity in mid-2014," Cudny claimed. DL
Copyright 2012 Heren Energy Ltd. All Rights Reserved.
(Originally published February 10, 2012, in European Spot Gas Markets.)