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10 June 2016

Blue Corridor-2016 rally successfully finished in Saint Petersburg

Участники ралли в Санкт-Петербурге

Rally Participants in St.Petersburg

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Having covered about four thousand kilometers around the Baltic Sea, on 10th June participants of the 10th NGV rally “Blue Corridor-2016. The Amber road”, organized by Gazprom Export and Uniper, crossed the finish line in Saint Petersburg. Namely in the Northern capital of Russia two weeks ago the festive ceremony of the rally start took place.

The principal goal of previous Blue Corridor rallies was raising awareness about advantages of using natural gas as a fuel for onroad transport. This year the main focus of the event has been shifted to the promotion of LNG for bunkering, which is especially relevant in light of tightening emission standards for sea vessels. That is why this year the key stages of the rally took place in important port cities of Russia, Estonia, Poland, Germany, Denmark and Sweden — around the whole Baltic Sea.

The first round table has been held in Tallinn, gathering about 50 representatives of the industry, officials and experts. Estonia pays close attention to development of alternative types of fuels for transport. Importantly, the national strategy foresees building of LNG infrastructure in all ports, which belong to the EU transport system TEN-T. Also the high-speed passenger LNG-ferry, which will cruise between Tallinn and Helsinki, is being constructed in the country.

Having left the Estonian capital, the rally vehicles drove further in the Western direction along the Baltic shore. Crossing Latvia and Lithuania, Blue Corridor participants arrived to the Polish port city of Gdansk, where they took part in the next round table. For Poland, embracing significant European transport corridors, the possibilities to use cleaner, cheaper and safer fuel — natural gas — is of utmost importance, underlined Eugene Pronin, one of the organizers, head of the petrochemical products exports at Gazprom Export. Namely in the Polish cities — Warsaw and Olsztyn — Gazprom Germania, a subsidiary of Gazprom Export, in cooperation with local companies implements first European projects of introduction of municipal LNG-buses.

After finishing the Polish stage of the rally, the crews of NGVs crossed the border with Germany and arrived at the Hanseatic city of Rostock, where one of the main Baltic Sea ports is located. Here, the key event of the Rally was held. On the 2nd of June the Energy Dialogue discussion took place, gathering around 120 representatives of marine shipping companies and port authorities, shipbuilders and manufacturers of natural equipment in addition to industry experts, politicians and journalists. As conference participants stressed, the development of LNG bunkering infrastructure at sea ports will stimulate the process of marine vessels transition to natural gas, which on its part will result in significant reduction of harmful emissions into atmosphere. Michael Kraack, CEO of Marine Service GmbH, underlined that bright financial prospects for dynamic development of LNG as bunkering fuel during the next 10-15 years do exist. The Port of Rostock, one of the largest transport hubs on the Baltic Sea, may play an important role in promotion of LNG for this sphere.

The next stage of the Rally took place in Denmark. The capital of the Kingdom — Copenhagen for several times already hosted the participants of the Blue Corridor NGV Rally. The round-table ignited a great interest among the industry representatives gathered more than 90 participants from 55 companies of 5 countries. Environmental responsibility is a key priority of Denmark’s energy policy. The country is one of the world leaders in renewables use in country’s energy mix. In this regard one the key topics discussed at the round-table was the expansion of natural gas use through a synergy of natural gas and biogas. The chief vice-president of Energynet.dk Torben Brabo expressed an opinion that in the long-run by 2040-2050 the biggest share of natural gas consumed in Denmark will fall on transportation sector.

The final round-table of the Blue Corridor-2016 NGV Rally was held in Stockholm. Representatives of LNG supplying companies, industry associations and consulting agencies specializing on introducing standards for LNG bunkering took part at the round-table. During the discussion the participants stressed importance of introducing single standards and rules of certification of LNG bunkering to stimulate the development of the industry.

In total from 26th of May to 10th of June Blue Corridor-2016 NGV Rally crews drove more than 3800 km across the roads of the Baltic region. A landmark event of this rally was a route from Stockholm to Turku which Rally participants made on the Viking Grace ferry which uses LNG for its propulsion system. It symbolizes the fact that LNG as marine fuel is not a remote future, but is truly here and now. The efficiency of LNG use on marine vessels is proved by records, and in the future the use of it will gain momentum.

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