Photo: Image courtesy of Dunkerque LNG

Lack of LNG transshipment services hurts Dunkirk’s September activity

Dunkerque LNG the operator of France’s Dunkirk liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminal said the facility has received fewer cargoes in September, compared to other European facilities. 

The operator’s sales manager, Pierre Dumont, noted this was due to the differences in use compared to its European counterparts in the context of volatile gas market prices across Europe.

The LNG terminal has had a record year in terms of tankers accommodated since January 1, 2019, with 54 unloading operations carried out by September 30.

However, this activity slowed considerably in September, which cannot be said for Zeebrugge and Montoir, Dunkirk’s two main competitors.

Pierre Dumont said, “It is due in part to technical differences between these terminals and our own, and in part to considerable fluctuations in gas market prices across Europe. These price fluctuations encourage market players to wait until market prices are more profitable before injecting their LNG into the network or redirecting it towards other markets, depending on how they wish to manage their LNG portfolios.” 

The lower inflow of LNG is also a result of technical factors, specifically the LNG terminal’s inability – for the time being – to offer its customers a transhipment service, a service that allows a berthed ship to unload its LNG directly into the tank of another berthed ship which can then ‘deliver’ to smaller ports nearby, or which enables the transfer of LNG from one tanker to another without in-containment fuel storage, for instance.

“With two wharves each, the Zeebrugge and Montoir terminals can offer this service. In Dunkirk, we only have one. LNG must, therefore, be unloaded into a tank before being reloaded onto another ship,” adds Pierre Dumont.

In October, however, the terminal successfully carried out a full-scale test of its new fast reloading service (the fastest offered by any terminal in Europe) for its customers.

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