Ras Laffan Liquefied Natural Gas Company Limited (II) (RasGas) recently made its first delivery of liquefied natural gas (LNG) under a long-term Sales and Purchase Agreement from the shores of Qatar to Zebrugge, Belgium.
At an official ceremony on March 29 held at Zeebrugge Port in Belgium, Second Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Energy and Industry, H E Abdullah bin Hamad Al Attiyah, accompanied by various senior dignitaries, welcomed the first delivery under the long-term Sales and Purchase Agreement (SPA) of Qatar’s LNG to the Fluxys Terminal in Belgium and to Distrigas.
RasGas and Distrigas, signed a milestone long term SPA in February 2005 for the supply of over two million tonnes of LNG per annum (Mta) commencing in 2007. In total, 55 billion cubic metres of natural gas and 660 cargoes of LNG will be delivered under this contract in the coming 20 years.
During the ceremony, Al Attiyah acknowledged the importance of two significant agreements between Qatar and Belgium; the Capacity Subscription Agreement signed with Fluxys in 2004 whereby affiliates of Qatar Petroleum and Exxon Mobil Corporation contracted for approximately half the capacity of the LNG regasification terminal in Zeebrugge for a period of twenty years, and the long-term SPA signed with Distrigas in 2005, for RasGas to supply more than 2 Mta of LNG from 2007.
“These two agreements were a major achievement for the State of Qatar, highlighting our confidence in the European market and our desire to further develop the strong economic relationship and friendship between Qatar and Belgium. I now have the greatest pleasure to be here in Zeebrugge to participate in the first delivery of Qatar’s LNG to the Fluxys terminal under the long-term SPA and to Distrigas,” said Al Attiyah at the ceremony.
Also in attendance at the formal reception was H E Dr Ibrahim B. Ibrahim, Economic Advisor to the Emir of Qatar, RasGas Vice Chairman and Chairman of the RasGas Marketing Committee, who highlighted in a recent article the importance of a reliable energy supply, he said, “With growing concern globally regarding not only a continuous supply of energy but, importantly, a secure supply, Qatar is proving to be a reliable energy partner. I am proud to say that RasGas not only promises reliability but that RasGas delivers on that promise and that is a remarkable achievement in our industry.”
Marc Verwilghen, Minister for Economy, Energy, Foreign Trade and Science Policy of Belgium, Dr Mohammed Al Sada, RasGas Managing Director, Erwin Van Bruysel, CEO of Distrigas and Vincent Wittebolle, CEO of Fluxys and Ron Billings, Vice President, LNG, ExxonMobil Gas and Power Marketing Company were also present at the event.
The delivery of the first LNG from Qatar to Belgium signifies a long and lasting relationship between Belgium and Qatar. Qatar is proud to be associated with Distrigas, one of the most experienced energy companies in Europe, and looks forward to developing this strategic agreement to meet Europe’s growing need for energy for many years to come.
Distrigas is one of the European pioneers in the LNG industry. This merchant company is part of the global Suez group and is listed on the Euronext Brussels exchange. Distrigas has more than 75 years’ experience in the energy business and has been trading in LNG for some 20 years. Its strategic position in Belgium and its long-term partnerships with distribution companies, electricity producers, natural gas resellers and major consumers give Distrigas a strong competitive advantage in north-west Europe.
During the opening discussions at the ceremony in Belgium, Marc Verwilghen, spoke highly of the relationship between Qatar and Belgium, “The recent European Heads of State and Government has underlined the fundamental importance for Europe of security of supply in addition to environmental objectives and competitiveness, and we are therefore delighted that Qatar has chosen Zeebrugge as a focal point for even more LNG deliveries for North Western Europe.”
Qatar also recognises the importance of holding capacity rights at the Zeebrugge terminal, which is one of the most strategically located terminals enabling LNG to reach new markets in Europe and benefit from the flexibility of a liquid market. For Belgium and for Europe the addition of up to 5.4 Mta of Qatari LNG that is scheduled to transit through the Zeebrugge terminal constitutes a significant contribution to the diversification and security of supplies.
Qatar’s investments to develop its natural resources enables it to supply safe, secure and clean energy to Europe, which contributes to the resolution of two of Europe’s major concerns: the security of supply and the availability of environmentally friendly energy sources.