The Participations business unit is responsible for optimum deployment of the existing participations. Investment projects also take place as part of this strategy and based on demand from the market.
The activities at Gate increased once again over the past year. The number of unloaded ships increased in 2017, to 18 (2016: 15). Ten large tankers were also loaded (2016: 12), and 5 smaller tankers (2016: 7). The new LNG break-bulk terminal supplied 17 smaller ships. Four transshipments were also carried out, whereby the LNG is pumped directly from one ship to another. This service started up in 2016, with 2 transshipments carried out that year. This puts Gate in the worldwide category of LNG facilities that can carry out a transshipment without difficulty.
The second and third truck loading bays were opened in July, allowing more trucks per day to be loaded. The number of trucks and containers loaded rose virtually every month of last year, to 1,600 in total for 2017, compared to 1,137 for 2016. For trucks and ships that run on diesel or fuel oil, respectively, LNG is a cleaner alternative fuel. Vehicles and vessels running on LNG produce far lower harmful emissions. LNG in containers is also supplied to industries that are not connected to the natural gas network, allowing them to nonetheless utilise the advantages of this fuel.
The development of LNG facilities contributes to the positioning of our network in relation to international gas flows and to the functioning of the market in this region. It also lays the foundation for the distribution of a cleaner alternative fuel for ships, trucks and industry.
Over 20 TWh was transported via the Bacton-Balgzand pipeline (BBL) in 2017, a decrease compared to last year (48 TWh), partly due to the expiration of one of the large transport contracts on 1 December 2016. Some of the free capacity was sold on the Prisma trading platform in 2017. BBL Company carried out the following projects in 2017:
Reverse flow project
In 2017, BBL company decided to enable gas transport via the BBL in both directions from autumn 2019. This further reinforces the trade between the two most liquid market areas in Europe: the Dutch Title Transfer Facility (TTF) and the British National Balancing Point (NBP). At the moment, gas can only be transported from the Netherlands to the United Kingdom via the BBL. Changes to the pipeline system at the Anna Paulowna compressor station and the gas terminal in Bacton will make it possible to transport gas from the United Kingdom to the Netherlands from 2019.
In 2017, GTS and BBL Company prepared the integration of the BBL pipeline in the TTF market area. The elimination of the Julianadorp interconnection point yields the following benefits: an (even) better link between the two most liquid hubs of Europe, TTF and NBP; more attractive transport enabling shippers to respond more quickly to arbitrage opportunities; a significant increase in flexibility for the Dutch market; and a boost for liquidity on TTF. The BBL pipeline became part of the TTF market area on 1 January 2018.
Just as in 2016, the free capacity of EnergyStock was almost sold out in 2017, which once again shows there is clear market demand for the storage services offered by EnergyStock. The pressure on the price for the services that EnergyStock provides persists, though in the medium term we expect that the competing supply of flexibility will decrease, which could push the price back up. One of the functions of the EnergyStock underground gas storage is to provide flexibility for a reliable, stable gas supply.
On 1 December, an investment decision was made to expand the Zuidwending underground gas storage with an extra cavern (cavern A1) and make modifications to the installation. The investment amounted to less than € 50 million. The expansion will allow the existing functionality to be better utilised. This expansion will enable EnergyStock to offer approximately 20% extra fast-cycle storage services while the total investments will increase to a limited extent. Cavern A1 can be developed with an extremely short lead time (less than 3 years). This unique possibility has arisen because this cavern is currently being used by AkzoNobel for salt extraction and 75% of the ultimate volume has already been extracted. This kind of development normally takes more than 5 years. The lead time mentioned for the development of cavern A1 ties in with the market expectations. An additional strategic value is that cavern A1 is largely already suitable for the storage of hydrogen (H2-ready), so this cavern can also be used in a future hydrogen economy.
In 2017, Nord Stream transported 556 TWh. This is 17% more than in 2016 (477 TWh).
Since 1 January 2015, Vertogas has acted on behalf of the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate as a certifier of renewable gas (green gas). It carries out its task on the basis of new legislation on energy, which includes the certification of renewable energy. The certificates issued by Vertogas guarantee the green origin of renewable gas from biomass. This is important for the development of a sustainable green gas market, which will contribute to the CO2-free energy supply envisioned by 2050.
The volume of green gas certified by Vertogas rose in 2017, from 81 million m3 in 2016 to almost 98 million m3 in 2017. This increase was mainly due to new production installations for green gas that were started up in 2017.