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How Spain is Making the Most of Small Scale LNG Markets

With the development of major new European gas pipelines, 'small scale' operations are often overlooked.  Spain, despite not producing any LNG themselves, is the biggest exporter of LNG in Europe.  This is due to their capability to reload it for small, medium and large applications in large multimodel terminals.  Truck loading has played a major part in Spain's share of the export market and in 2015 35,000 trucks were loaded with LNG which represents 80% of the EU's truck loading traffic.  Coincidentally, transport is also providing a growing market for LNG as increasing numbers of trucks and ships are powered by it.

Export Opportunities

Reloaded LNG from Spain has been exported to markets in Asia and South America.  Spanish energy company Enagas, who run the national gas grid, have been diversifying their operation to exploit opportunities in small and mid sized services moving away from the traditional model of large LNG regasification terminals consisting mainly of the reception, unload, storage, and regasification of LNG.  Currently, they are expanding their operations further by heading the CORE LNGas Hive initiative on the strategically located Iberian Peninsula.  This project is set to receive €16.5M in funding from the European Commission and involves eight state-owned institutions, 13 port authorities and 21 industrial companies working towards using LNG as a maritime fuel in Spain.

LNG as a Maritime Fuel

It is this type of expansion in the use of LNG as a fuel for transportation that is prompting companies like Enagas to invest in small scale services.  With 30% fewer CO2 emissions than oil, LNG is one of the most environmentally friendly fuels.  This makes it appealing in marine applications due to the requirements to lower sulphur in the SOx Emission Control Areas, which affect half of the fleet in European short sea shipping.  As such, the use of LNG as a maritime fuel is on the rise all over Europe.  LNG for road transport is not such a new idea but it is also on the rise for heavy goods transportation.  Currently, there are around 1500 truck running on LNG around the EU with more than 100 LNG refuelling stations, 23 of which are in Spain.  EU Directives are actively encouraging the creation of more LNG refuelling stations with recommendations that they should have no more than 400kms between them.

Truck Loading

Increased diversity in the use of LNG has prompted a rise in the use of truck loading to transport it.  In Spain, up to 45,000 trucks a year have transported LNG to local distribution networks, industrial clients and small to medium sized businesses.  Relatively large cities such as Albacete or Almeria use truck loading for their gas supply and it is extensively used in countries where the pipe network does not reach remote areas.

Spain's wide use of LNG and further expansion plans to use it as a major maritime fuel, has created a demand for a variety of small and medium sized LNG services.  Companies like Enagas are diversifying their operations to exploit these new markets.  As one of the few UK companies to supply the LNG industry, Ex~i Flow can help our clients make the most of new opportunities in the marketplace.  To see what we can do for you call 01243 554920.