The Montoir LNG import and transhipment terminal in the French Atlantic port of St Nazaire reached a number of milestones in August.
A total of 13 LNG carriers docked at the facility during the month. Four of the ships discharged cargoes while three of the vessels took on cargo reloads. In addition, there were three transhipment operations involving pairs of LNGCs.
According to Elengy, Montoir’s operator, that is a record feat for a European LNG terminal. Furthermore, the three transhipments were all completed during one week beginning on 15 August, another first for a European LNG facility. Montoir has now completed 10 LNG transhipments since the beginning of the year, more than any other European terminal.
Although Montoir handled its first LNG transhipment in 2012, this service was not often used during the early years. However, circumstances are now changing.
Elengy has concluded a long-term transhipment services deal with Novatek, operator of the Yamal LNG project in the Russian High Arctic. The terminal’s transhipment capabilities have been upgraded, including adding compressors to handle boil-off gas recovery.
Transhipment operations are carried out with an LNG carrier moored at each of Montoir’s two berths. LNG is transferred via the set of loading arms on each berth and the cryogenic jettyside pipework linking the two loading arm stations. The arrangement obviates the need to use the terminal’s storage tanks.
The Yamal transhipments enable ice-class LNGCs to optimise their time in the high latitudes for which they were designed and to deliver cargoes to the customer in conventional LNGCs for the final leg of the voyage.
The Nantes-St Nazaire harbour authority has also played a key role in facilitating the increasing number of Montoir transhipment operations. Preparation work confirmed two LNG carriers could be berthed at the facility simultaneously, on the same slack tide, minimising the laytime duration for the two ships.
Montoir handled its first Yamal LNG transhipment operation in early January 2018, shortly after the Russian project’s export terminal at Sabetta commenced operations. On that occasion the 172,000-m3 Arc7 ice class LNG carrier Fedor Litke transferred its Yamal cargo to 155,000-m3 LNG Jurojin.
In addition to its regasification, reload and transhipment services, Montoir can also carry out LNG carrier gasing-up and cooldown operations and, since 2013, road tanker loading. To meet a growing demand for LNG from regional industrial sites not connected to the grid, Elengy doubled the vehicle-handling capacity of the facility’s road loading bays in 2016.
Montoir has been in service since 1980. Besides its two marine jetties, the terminal has three 120,000-m3 LNG storage tanks and access to an underground storage cavern able to hold regasified LNG.
The facility has the capacity to offer approximately 120 LNGC berthing slots per annum. Transhipments are expected to account for 15- 20% of turnover over the coming years.