Pipelink organised an emergency drill on one of its underground propylene pipelines in November 2023 in collaboration with the City of Antwerp's Emergency Planning Department. During the drill, a leak was simulated in a propylene pipeline, at a location with several underground pipes. Emergency drills like this are essential for the professional and safe management of high-pressure pipelines. Maximum preparation for a leaking propylene pipeline To be optimally prepared for an emergency, it is important that pipeline owners and operators, emergency services, municipalities and other stakeholders are familiar with each other and know what to expect from one another. Pipelink therefore proposed an emergency drill to the city of Antwerp and the emergency services. Under the supervision of the emergency planning coordinator and the city's Emergency Planning Department, Pipelink worked out a comprehensive scenario around a propylene pipeline leak. The owners and operators of adjacent pipelines were also involved as well as the Antwerp Fire department, Antwerp Police department, Civil Protection department and medical services. Realistic drill with operational command post The emergency drill took place on 29 November 2023, on grounds of the Antwerp Police department. A full operational command post was set up as would be the case in a real crisis. No operational actions such as cordoning off roads or evacuating people were undertaken. All parties worked together in a highly committed and realistic way, with one goal in mind: to get the incident under control. We look back on a successful drill! Practice makes perfect As such emergency drills are crucial to manage high-pressure transmission lines professionally, Pipelink organises small and larger drills at regular intervals. We always involve other emergency rescue areas and municipalities so that as many stakeholders as possible benefit from our emergency drills. We would once again like to thank all participants for their active contribution. In particular, the City of Antwerp's Emergency Planning Department for the organisation and their expertise. Also, co-pipeline owners and operators BPO-NATO - Borealis - Fluxys - INEOS and PPS. Want to know more about our approach? Read more news about Pipelink.
Cooperation between Port of Antwerp-Bruges and Norh Sea Port to accelerate energy transition North Sea Port is to become a minority shareholder in Pipelink, currently a wholly owned subsidiary of Port of Antwerp-Bruges. This new partnership will develop and build local, national and international pipeline projects – essential steps forward in the modal shift and energy transition. Pipelink owns and manages an asset base of 750 kilometres of pipelines in Belgium. With North Sea Port becoming a minority shareholder in Pipelink thanks to a capital injection, the three largest Belgian port platforms Antwerp, Ghent and Zeebrugge will be represented in Pipelink. Modal shift and energy transition Pipelines are the most environmentally friendly, energy-efficient and safe method for transporting gaseous and liquid products. As such, they have a key role to play in the modal shift and energy transition. Win-win Besides Ghent, Vlissingen and Terneuzen in the Netherlands are also part of North Sea Port. Since this area is home to numerous energy-intensive companies, there are various pipeline opportunities there. Furthermore, Pipelink's ambition is to develop pipeline networks for the transport of (green) hydrogen carriers such as ammonia, methane and methanol. New pipelines between the Zeebrugge and Antwerp port platforms will cross the Ghent port platform and can therefore also connect the Ghent and Antwerp clusters with each other. By analogy with Port of Antwerp-Bruges in Antwerp, North Sea Port – as a shareholder in Pipelink – can play a facilitating role in developing these projects. Shared ambition: CO2 transport infrastructure Carbon Capture & Storage (CCS) and eventually the reuse of CO2 as a feedstock for various applications (Carbon Capture & Utilisation, CCU) are essential in the transition to climate neutrality. Like Port of Antwerp-Bruges with its Antwerp@C project (with Pipelink as a partner), in the shape of Ghent Carbon Hub, North Sea Port is also aiming to offer its industrial customers a CO2 hub with locally accessible infrastructure (open access backbone). Alongside these local backbones, Fluxys, Pipelink, Socofe and FPIM have joined forces to develop a national CO2 backbone known as "C-grid". It will be connected to CO2 export infrastructure and adjacent infrastructure in neighbouring countries to support energy-intensive industries in northwestern Europe as they move towards climate neutrality. Jacques Vandermeiren, chairman of Pipelink's executive board and CEO of the Port of Antwerp-Bruges: "For a challenge like the energy transition, collaboration is essential. The fact that North Sea Port is now also part of Pipelink will only accelerate this transition and the construction of the necessary infrastructure. This is good news and a win-win for all parties. By connecting the Belgian port platforms, we can avoid competition and potential duplication of expensive infrastructure." Daan Schalck, CEO North Sea Port: "Our participation in Pipelink is yet another great example of cooperation between ports, and with companies. This allows us to help determine the management and development of the CO2 pipelines in our port area and put opportunities for port customers first. Indeed, North Sea Port is committed to [...]
“Fluxys C-Grid”: Fluxys Belgium, Pipelink, Socofé and SFPIM join forces to create a CO2 network operator
"Fluxys C-Grid”: Fluxys Belgium, Pipelink, Socofé and SFPIM join forces to create a CO2 network operator Read the full press release here: C-GRID
The need for European pipeline networks Pipelink was a guest at the European Industry & Energy Summit 2022 at the Brightlands Chemelot Campus in Geleen, Netherlands at the end of November. The two-day event saw dozens of speakers from the process industry and energy sector present solutions to combat climate change. Including Michel Leyseele, managing director of Pipelink and Maurice Pelsers, managing director of Petrochemical Pipeline Services (PPS). Here is a review of their plea for the development of common carriers in Northwestern Europe. The importance of European common carriers Northwestern Europe urgently needs cross-border common carriers and this is because of the current energy crisis, supply problems, and growing challenges around energy transition, Leyseele & Pelsers stress. Remarkably, unlike in the United States of America, pipelines in Northwestern Europe very often stop at country borders. According to Leyseele & Pelsers, this has all to do with national and sometimes even regional legislation and their licensing and permitting issues, political polarisation, and constant election fever, resulting in short-term decisions, nimbyism among residents and firms, and so on. And above all, the persistent mindset that neighbouring countries are not partners, but only customers or, worse, competitors. For example, the Antwerp Rotterdam Rhine Ruhr Cluster (ARRR) is viewed not as one mega-cluster, but as a collection of more than twenty local chemical clusters. However, the same parties curiously regard Houston, which is much larger in area, as one cluster. TRILOG as a catalyst Time for change, then. This is why TRILOG was established in 2017, a partnership between the Belgian region of Flanders, the Netherlands and the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia, which is intended to result in specific actions aimed at a sustainable future vision for the chemical sector. TRILOG is a collaboration between Port of Antwerp-Bruges (and its subsidiary Pipelink), Port of Rotterdam, and seven petrochemical players: Sabic (and its subsidiary PPS), Dow, Evonik, Basell Polyolefins, BASF, INEOS, BP, and Borealis. In addition to the development of cross-border pipelines, TRILOG is exploring five more initiatives. Successful start Leyseele & Pelsers underline that favourable framework conditions must be created in order to realise European pipeline networks. At the same time, much has already been realised: Possible products, routes, border crossings, distances and locations to be connected have been investigated. Petrochemical companies have collaborated on a survey to identify industry needs. And the Netherlands, Flanders and North Rhine Westphalia signed a joint declaration of intent on 5 May 2021. The pair of speakers concluded the talk with a positive note and a hopeful outlook: the existing ARG (Aetylen-Rohrleitungs-Geselschaft) pipeline network for ethylene is already one good example of this kind of successful cooperation between the Belgian, German and Dutch chemical industries. Interesting in finding out more about common carriers or a European pipeline network? Contact Pipelink.
This is how we make sure our pipelines remain in top condition Pipelink does everything in its power to ensure the mechanical integrity of its pipelines. Most importantly, we avoid corrosion with External Corrosion Direct Assessment (ECDA). Through various inspection methods, we then verify that the polyethylene coatings of existing pipes remain in top condition. Coating as a passive protection against corrosion The steel pipes used in the construction of our pipelines are coated with polyethylene. This coating is applied in the factory, after the pipes have been manufactured. The coating forms a first and passive level of protection against corrosion. Cathodic protection, a second level of protection Our steel pipelines are also equipped with an active cathodic protection. This is a method of corrosion control in which the potential of steel is actively lowered below a certain threshold, thereby significantly reducing the risk of corrosion in the event of coating failure. The proper functioning of the cathodic protection - as also required by Belgian legislation - is checked at regular intervals. Detection of coating failures Despite the above protection measures, corrosion may still occur in the vicinity of a coating failure. Therefore, it is very important that coating defects are detected in a timely manner. This can be done using specific inspections and checks, such as: The potential measurement of cathodic protection. This measurement gives an indication of the possible coating failure. A Direct Current Voltage Gradient (DCVG) survey, which can be used to localize coating failure. A Pearson survey, another technique for detecting the location of coating failures. Direct assessment If a coating failure is suspected on the basis of the above inspections and checks, a direct assessment is done. In this process, the indicated coating defect is excavated. We examine whether any corrosion has already occurred and its severity. If necessary, we take measures to repair the pipe and coating so that the pipe is tip top again. Post-assessment Once the above steps are completed, we evaluate all results and determine if additional inspections or actions are necessary. Want to know more about us or our inspection methods? Contact Pipelink. Read more: Successful audit of our safety management system
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.