In late April, the port authorities of Antwerp and Zeebrugge merged to form Port of Antwerp-Bruges. There are various reasons for this, of which the energy transition is perhaps the most important, explains Jacques Vandermeiren, CEO of the merged port authority. This presents new opportunities and challenges, particularly in the field of infrastructure. Infrastructure as a driver of transition
Are you, like Pipelink, in compliance with the recent Belgian legislation? In March 2022, Pipelink's legally required safety management system (SMS) successfully passed an external audit. This means Pipelink has succeeded in being ready for a major new phase in the safe operation of transport piping in Belgium by 30 June 2022. Updated safety rules In 2017 – after more than 25 years – the safety legislation (or Belgian Gas Law) on the management of high-pressure pipelines for the transport of liquids and gases was updated. Pipeline owners like Pipelink were given 5 years to comply with these new safety rules. One major requirement in this new legislation is to have an audited safety management system (SMS). For pipelines installed prior to 2017, the SMS needed to be audited by an external auditor by the end of June 2022. Pipelines licensed between 2017 and June 2022 even needed to comply with new legislative requirements within 1 year from its commissioning. External audit The audit of Pipelink's safety management system was carried out by an internationally renowned auditor, as approved by the government. Processes, procedures and inspection reports were among the things closely inspected during this audit. These were used to check whether Pipelink's safety management system met the stipulations imposed by the regulations. Pipelink is proud to report that this first test was passed with flying colours. No non-conformities emerged from this audit.
Pipelink's role in a shared CO₂ infrastructure in the port of Antwerp How can you halve the port of Antwerp's CO₂ emissions? And how do you achieve this by 2030? Eight companies of the Antwerp energy and chemicals cluster are working on answering these questions as part of the Antwerp@C project. Their goal is to create the world's largest multi-modal cross-border open-access CO₂ infrastructure. As a subsidiary of Port of Antwerp-Bruges, Pipelink is taking on a key role in this. Major port project for CO₂ Antwerp@C is an initiative of Air Liquide, BASF, Borealis, ExxonMobil, INEOS, TotalEnergies, Fluxys, and Port of Antwerp. Together, these parties are working to achieve a smooth transition for Port of Antwerp-Bruges to a carbon-neutral port. The focus of this consortium is on Carbon Capture Utilisation and Storage (CCUS), which involves offshore storage and the future re-use of CO₂ as a raw material for the chemicals industry. The project consists of: a backbone CO₂ pipeline covering both the left and right bank of the river Scheldt an export pipeline crossing the border into the Netherlands a liquefaction unit to liquefy CO₂ with temporary storage The technical and feasibility studies – subsidised by the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) fund – have already been completed. The engineering phase (FEED) began recently and will run until late 2022. By this point, a final investment decision will be made for the first phase of the project. Pipelink's role in CCUS In the meantime, Fluxys, Air Liquide, and Pipelink (a subsidiary of Port of Antwerp-Bruges) have mapped out initial demand for the proposed CO₂ infrastructure via an 'Open Season', in which all firms in the large port area of Antwerp were invited to express their interest in CO₂ transport and/or CO₂ terminal infrastructure in Antwerp. The results of this survey will be taken into account in the final investment decision. Green light for Kairos@C A number of projects will be connecting to the CO₂ backbone of Antwerp@C. One of these is the Kairos@C project of consortium members Air Liquide and BASF Antwerp, which is to reduce the CO₂ emissions of both firms by a total of 14.2 million metric tonnes over a ten-year period. The Kairos@C project was given the go-ahead from the EU Innovation Fund at the end of 2021. This means another milestone towards a carbon-neutral port is in sight. Interested in CO₂ transport and/or CO₂ terminal infrastructure in Antwerp? Contact Pipelink. Press release Port of Antwerp: Antwerp@C
Pipelink provides the missing pipelink for Borealis In 2020, the Borealis site in Kallo gained an additional section of propylene pipeline, while this investment enables Pipelink to expand its asset base by over five kilometres. To ensure a good start and a long service life, the pipeline was inspected in late 2021, shortly after commissioning by Borealis. From Kallo to Beringen The new ND150 propylene pipe connects the production site of Borealis Kallo with the existing ND150 propylene pipe that runs between Antwerp and Borealis’ polypropylene plant in Beringen. The construction of this missing link enables Borealis to transport its propylene directly from Kallo to Beringen. Challenging works The new propylene pipe for Borealis measures 5.1 kilometres and features two block valve stations, various road crossings, and a challenging section of about 800 metres where it crosses the river Scheldt. The project involved 1,925 metres of horizontal directional drilling (HDD) in total. The works were carried out at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, from late 2019 until the summer of 2020. Despite the additional pressure as a result of the pandemic, the project was delivered on time and in line with our high quality and safety requirements. A fine achievement by all project partners! A good start To enable the effective management of this new section of pipeline, Pipelink carried out intelligent pigging in October 2021. During the course of this in-line inspection, we measure wall thickness, ovality, and other specifications over the entire length of the pipe. The result of the subsequent periodic inspections are compared against these baseline values. Pipelink regularly inspects all of its assets using visual drive-by inspections, walk-over inspections with trained dogs, cathodic protection management, and in-line inspections. Interested in learning more about Pipelink projects? Read more news about Pipelink.
How Pipelink connects the port of Antwerp to the future Underneath the port of Antwerp are over 1,000 kilometres of high-pressure pipelines, of which 210 kilometres are owned and managed by Pipelink. Some of these are as much as 60 centimetres in diameter and have a design pressure of up to 100 bar! Our Pipelink pipelines transport as much as 900,000 metric tonnes of gases and liquid chemical products each year. Some impressive figures, for sure. But not half as impressive as the future opportunities that Pipelink is now creating: pipeline transport not only bolsters the position of Antwerp's energy and chemical industry cluster, but is also essential for the modal shift and energy transition in Europe. Antwerp, our home port The port of Antwerp lies at the heart of our activities and is also home to Europe's largest integrated energy and (petro)chemical industry cluster, which is strategically connected to the European hinterland via maritime and logistical connections. Therefore, maritime, industrial and logistical activities go hand-in-hand. Next to the interconnecting pipelines within the port it is also from here that Pipelink connects port-based companies with companies in the Belgian hinterland, including in the Campine and Feluy. European ambitions Pipelines will play an ever more important role in improving the interconnections between (petro)chemical industry companies across Europe. Together with its parent company Port of Antwerp-Bruges and other partners, Pipelink is interested in expanding the pipeline infrastructure towards the rest of Europe, particularly the ARRR area (Antwerp-Rotterdam-Rhine-Ruhr). This is a must for both the modal shift and the transition towards a low-carbon society in Europe. Multi-user, multi-access infrastructure We intend to achieve our European ambitions with the development of multi-user/multi-access networks, across country borders, for products such as e.g. propene, ethene, propane, LPG and naphtha and their future bio or synthetic versions. In this kind of network, firms are not interwoven one-on-one, but multiple users, storage firms, as well as producers are connected to it. This poses a considerable challenge, as various parties and future users need to be brought together to achieve this. Our expertise and neutrality (Pipelink does not own any of the transported molecules) make us the perfect partner for the expansion of such networks. What is more, our parent company Port of Antwerp-Bruges, as a community builder, has a great deal of experience in forging such consortia. We therefore form an ideal team to take up this role. Interested in joining our network? Contact Pipelink and take your place at the table.