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„LNG and beyond: global challenges, sustainable solutions“: German, Norwegian and Dutch LNG experts catch up on the newest developments at the 3rd LNG Matchmaking Conference in Oslo

More than 70 representatives of industrial and shipping companies, port authorities, initiatives and associations from German, Norway and the Netherlands came together on 31st May and 1st June at the HQ of Norwegian chemical company Yara in the Norwegian capital to attend the third LNG Matchmaking Conference 2018. The objectives of the conference entitled “LNG and beyond: global challenges, sustainable solutions” were the provision of information and exchange about newest market developments and existing best practice in the three countries as well as electrification and the use of bio-LNG and Hydrogen. 

Like in previous years, the German Maritime LNG Platform, jointly with the Dutch LNG Platform, the Netherlands Business Support Office (NBSO), New Energy Coalition (Groningen), Innovation Norway as well as the Maritime Cluster Northern Germany, had invited to two conference days that were packed with exciting presentations and discussions, interesting excursions as well as various networking opportunities. This year’s special event partners were the Norwegian chemical company Yara that operates a big facility in Brunsbuettel, Northern Germany, and specialises in the production of fertilizers, as well as the German-Norwegian Chamber of Commerce.

The first conference day highlighted the newest developments in all three countries: Marcel Tijhuis of the business development team of German LNG Terminal updated attendees on the progress of the LNG terminal project in Brunsbuettel. Afterwards Julia Lindland, Managing Director, Yara Brunsbuettel, explained possible synergies between the Yara facilities in Brunsbuettel and the planed LNG import and small-scale terminal. From Germany Heinz Jürgen Hiller, Head of of International Operations, VTG Rail Europe, outlined the benefits of innovative LNG tank cars, and Jan Schubert, Senior Manager Sales & Business Development of Hamburg-based company Nauticor, reported on Nauticor’s varied experiences as an LNG supplier in the North and Baltic Seas. The current chair of the German LNG Platform, Thorsten Lehmann, Managing Director MAN Hamburg and Head of Region Europe Engine & Marine Systems, demonstrated the innovative potential of ship engines manufacturers and stressed that various engines solutions were ready for usage.

For the Dutch side Patrick Cnubben, Board Member of the Dutch LNG Platform, explained what steps the Netherlands will take to support the use of bio-LNG. Talking about “LNG as Game Changer“, Harald Ruegebregt, Manager Research & Consultancy at Dutch shipyard Conoship International BV, based in Groningen, focused on the innovative potential of LNG and its impact on shipbuilding. Marieke Knook, Shell Downstream LNG, detailed how Shell continuously optimises and extends its LNG supply chains and bunkering processes.

Norwegian speakers focused on future developments. For example, Merete Østby of Yara Norge AS introduced attendees to the world’s first emission-free and autonomous freight carrier, to be built by Yara.

The first conference day was concluded by an evening reception at the German-Norwegian Chamber of Commerce. Discussions went on well into a beautiful summer evening in the garden of the former GDR embassy.  

A full agenda awaited the German, Norwegian and Dutch conference attendees the following day starting at the “Maritime Innovation Lab“ of Wilhelmsen. The Norwegian shipping company uses its lab to link up with start-ups and foster co-operation to develop innovative technologies and business models and therefore counter future challenges in the maritime sector. This was followed by a visit to the DNV GL campus in Olso- Høvik where the newest trends in battery development for maritime use were presented. Afterwards, the LNG experts from the three countries were welcomed to Oslo City Hall where both the city and the port of Oslo outlined their strategy for a “zero-emission harbour”.

To mark the end of this varied second conference day, the group enjoyed the magnificent views of Oslo Fjord aboard an LNG-fueled ferry – of course, including a visit to the engine room and a Q&A session with the crew to discuss their experience with LNG as a fuel.

Tessa Rodewaldt, Managing Director of the German Maritime LNG Platform, was pleased with the third installment of the LNG Matchmaking Conference:

“Our LNG Matchmaking Conference, a co-operation with our Dutch and Norwegian partners, has developed into a key conference and networking opportunity for LNG experts from all three countries. This year, our discussions focused on the latest developments: the development of an LNG infrastructure in Germany, bio-LNG in the Netherlands and emission-free and autonomous ships in Norway. This exchange remains vital as it identifies innovation, provides relevant ideas and supports co-operation.”