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    Fluxys Gains on LNG Business


The regulated infrastructure operator saw a surge in LNG activity, with more to come.

by: William Powell

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Fluxys Gains on LNG Business

Belgian transmission system operator Fluxys Belgium saw revenues and profit rise last year compared with 2018, thanks in part to much heavier use of its LNG facilities, it reported March 25. 

Its turnover was up about 5% at €531.0 ($578)mn in 2019 and net profit rose by over a third, from €54.5mn in 2018 to €69.5mn in 2019. Pretax earnings before depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda) were up €19mn at €297.34mn and pretax earnings (Ebit) were up €14mn, at €134.8mn.

LNG activities broke records, as 130 vessels docked at the Zeebrugge terminal, over half as many again as the previous high point of 82 in 2009. And compared with 2018, more than twice as many carriers came to unload LNG, and the amount of natural gas injected by the terminal into the network was almost three times higher. The number of LNG transshipment operations doubled.

And while other LNG terminals are also developing services for small-scale LNG, the demand for loading small LNG carriers in 2019 was unchanged year on year, while almost 1,200 more LNG trailers were loaded.

Investments in property, plant and equipment were up €91.3mn, compared with €78.1mn in 2018. Most of the money was spent on the fifth tank at Zeebrugge, which will be used for Novatek’s transhipments of LNG from Russia’s far north. That allows 8mn metric tons/year to be handled, with effect from last December.

The amount of gas transmitted for the Belgian domestic market rose almost 3% on 2018, increasing from 187 TWh to 193 TWh. Small commercial and household demand was steady but major users with high pressure grid connections used 7% more and the gas-fired power generating demand was up 4%, it said.

Transit flows were down 9.5% to 238.1 TWh: the decline in flows to the UK was only partially offset by more to the Netherlands and France, it said.

The number of vehicles powered by compressed natural gas (CNG) in Belgium rose by almost 40% in 2019, from 14,000 to just over 19,000. Around 30 CNG filling stations were opened, bringing the total number in Belgium to 134. Another 30 or so are at the planning stage and should materialise in 2020. At the end of 2019, Belgium had 12 LNG filling stations for LNG-fuelled trucks, with another six at the planning stage.

Taking into account a profit of €53.0mn carried over from the previous financial year and a withdrawal of €49.3mn from the reserves, the company proposes to make a dividend payment of €91.3mn this year and to carry forward €53.5mn as profit, it said.