Page last updated at 18:35 GMT, Friday, 20 March 2009

First liquid gas delivery in port

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The first LNG tanker to arrive in the UK enters Milford Haven

The first giant tanker carrying super-cooled gas from the Middle East to one of two new terminals in Pembrokeshire has arrived in port.

Once fully operational, the liquefied natural gas plants at Milford Haven will be capable of meeting up to 25% of the UK's current gas requirements.

The Tembek began its berthing process at the South Hook terminal at 1500 GMT and finally docked three hours later.

Protesters who have fought the £13bn projects have been at the site all day.

Milford Haven Port Authority said it could handle LNG shipping safely.

The tanker, which has sailed from Qatar, had been moored off Pembrokeshire waiting for the tide to allow it to berth at the newly built South Hook deep water terminal.

It is the largest LNG plant in Europe and is a joint venture between Qatar Petroleum, ExxonMobil and Total.

Faisal Al-Suwaidi, chairman of Qatargas, said the arrival of the first cargo at South Hook was "a significant milestone" in the project.

Graphic of an LNG tanker
The giant tanker is carrying LNG, a natural gas which has been converted to a liquid by cooling it to a temperature of -160C

UK Energy Secretary Ed Miliband said: "The arrival of the first shipment of gas from Qatar to Milford Haven's new import terminal at South Hook opens up yet another source of gas to UK homes and businesses, and will help boost our energy security, as North Sea supplies decline."

Meanwhile, Ted Sangster, Chief Executive of Milford Haven Port Authority, said the port's ability to handle LNG would help them in their aim to become the "most highly regarded port in the country".

"LNG's arrival also means the eyes of the world will be upon us, helping to attract the interest of other commercial operators which which will present us with further opportunities to create additional revenue," he said.

LNG is natural gas which has been converted to a liquid by cooling it to a temperature of -160°C.

In its liquid form, it occupies much less space than gas, making it easier and more cost-effective to transport.

It will be turned back into gas at the terminals and pumped into the UK network along a specially constructed pipeline running from Milford to Gloucestershire.

South Hook is the larger of two terminals built at the port.

The other, Dragon LNG, a partnership between Malaysia's state oil firm Petronas, BG and the Netherland's 4Gas, is expected to become operational later in the year.

The companies say LNG imports will increase the UK's security and diversity of gas supply while helping to ensure that natural gas remains a competitive source of energy.

The plants have been opposed by campaigners since they were first announced six years ago.

Gordon Main, founder of Safe Haven, said there were concerns that sufficient risk assessments had not been carried out into the possibility of a collision or major incident at the port.

Members of the group were expected to sound a World War II air raid siren from an island at the entrance to the waterway.

Graphic of an LNG tanker and Eiffel Tower
The tanker is longer than the Eiffel tower

"We will be sounding it from Stack Rock fort when the first LNG tanker appears at the heads on Friday," he said.

"This will be a notice to all who live along the waterway that LNG is coming into Milford Haven."

Safe Haven commissioned its own report which it says shows "that a proper risk assessment of LNG cargo spills to the onshore population" has not been carried out.

Milford Haven Port Authority said a large number of reports and risk assessments had been undertaken.

"We are confident that we can handle LNG shipping safely and efficiently along with all other users of the port," it said.

Graphic locator of LNG terminal and tanker route
The gas will be pumped from the terminals into the UK network along a specially constructed pipeline running from Milford to Gloucestershire



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