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Liquefied Natural Gas – new perspectives for the ship industry in the South Baltic area

Interview with Frank van Dijk, Regional Marketing Director of General Electrics Oil and Gas Europe.

Frank van Dijk is the Regional Marketing Director at General Electrics Oil and Gas Europe. The following comments are based on his personal view and not on that of GE Oil and Gas or its subsidiaries.

Why is there a need for knowledge sharing and capacity building on Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG)? What is the added value of the MarTech_LNG project for you?

First, LNG is hugely important for more Energy independence of the Central Eastern Europe region. Today the region is for 100% reliant on Russian gas and recent geopolitical events have reminded everyone that it’s important to have a plan B. The region has little experience with LNG and therefore it makes total sense to collaborate with players who do have extensive experience in this specialized industry. For GE collaboration with MarTech LNG has allowed us to connect with other companies in the value chain and as a result this has created commercial opportunities as well as partnership discussions. MarTech LNG has done a great job in being the connective tissue between the different companies in the value chain.

With the amended Sulphur Directive of the EU entering into force as of 1st January 2015 there will be a need to adjust to the new market conditions. What are the LNG market implications for GE in the South Baltic area with regard to this EU directive?

Marine operators in the region basically have two options, one is to change the fuel source used for propulsion and the second one is to upgrade their emission control systems. For those who decide to change their fuel source, natural gas and LNG are obvious alternatives. For GE the Sulphur directive provides opportunity in that we have a broad portfolio of products, solutions and services around gas infrastructure.

What potentials and business perspectives do you recognise for the South Baltic area with regard to LNG?

The most obvious one is LNG for Marine bunkering applications and the infrastructure associated with that. But LNG flowing from the Baltic into Central Eastern Europe could be a great alternative gas supply for the power generation sector. Natural gas is also an enabler for the transportation sector to use natural gas as an environmental friendly alternative to petrol and diesel. This would have to be supported by creating an infrastructure around natural gas refilling stations, creating more business opportunities.

What is your vision of the LNG market and development in 2020?

Some very large LNG liquefaction projects that are under construction will be on-line by 2020. Think about Australia, Africa, Canada and possibly the USA. There will be an increased global demand as more countries discover LNG as an alternative to pipelines, relieving them from difficult long term contracts at fixed prices. For Europe I predict a Northern LNG route through Poland and Lithuania, a Western entry route through Netherlands, Belgium and France, a Southern route through Spain and Italy and finally an Eastern route through the Black Sea. LNG will become more and more available and businesses will adopt accordingly.

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