Posted on February 15, 2023
The Belgian-German energy summit took place today in Zeebrugge. This is part of the collaboration between Belgium and Germany to enhance their energy independence.
To this end, the two countries signed an agreement to intensify their collaboration, including through an Energy Contact Group. Port of Antwerp-Bruges’ strategy and projects around hydrogen, circularity, and CO2 capture, among others, make the port an essential player in both countries’ ambitions to become climate neutral.
Prime Minister Alexander De Croo received German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Zeebrugge today for the Belgian-German energy summit. Minister for Energy Tinne Van der Straeten and Patrick Graichen, German Secretary of State for Economic Affairs and Climate Action, also attended the talks at Port of Antwerp-Bruges’ ABC building.
The two countries signed an agreement to accelerate energy collaboration on electrification, LNG, hydrogen, and carbon capture to enhance their energy independence. They will do so through, among other things, an Energy Contact Group. This group consists of political and industry stakeholders and will meet annually to monitor a range of energy topics. Collaboration between Belgium and Germany is important for the future of the industry in both countries and to make a smooth transition to a climate-neutral economy.
Key role for Port of Antwerp-Bruges
The Port of Antwerp-Bruges lies at the center of several important industrial clusters and at an energy crossroads in the heart of Europe. Along with the strategic location of the ports, the strong connections with surrounding countries, the presence of major chemical and energy players, and the already existing infrastructure, this country, therefore, has all the assets it needs to become the green energy gateway of Europe.
As a world port, the Port of Antwerp-Bruges sees a key role for itself in the import, local production, processing, and throughput of green hydrogen and derivatives to the hinterland. Zeebrugge is already one of the main entry points for LNG and natural gas: 15 percent of European gas arrives there. In addition, the Port of Antwerp-Bruges is actively working on the capture and storage of CO₂. For example, the ambition of Antwerp@C, a consortium including Air Liquide, BASF, Borealis, ExxonMobil, INEOS, Fluxys, and Total, is to capture half of the port’s CO₂ emissions by 2030.
Germany a key region
Along with German industry, chemistry, and governments, Port of Antwerp-Bruges has been working for some time to expand the capacity and infrastructure between the two countries. For example, the port is already a major supplier of LNG and natural gas for Germany, and concrete plans are ready for transporting hydrogen and hydrogen carriers to Germany via various transport modes such as pipelines, rail, and inland navigation. In the other direction, captured CO₂ from German industry can be transported via the port to be stored in empty gas fields in the North Sea.
Jacques Vandermeiren, CEO Port of Antwerp-Bruges: “15% of the supply of LNG and natural gas to Europe today passes through the port of Zeebrugge, making our port one of the most important access routes for gas to Germany and the European hinterland. In turn, the port of Antwerp is home to numerous leading German chemical companies, which are also closely linked to the German industry. Today, Port of Antwerp-Bruges is working out concrete plans to transport sustainable hydrogen and hydrogen carriers to Germany, further establishing ourselves as the green energy & feedstock hub of the future. To make this change happen, even more, Belgian-German cooperation is needed in areas such as import, infrastructure, transport, and purchase of these green energy flows. That is what is on the agenda today for the meeting between German and Belgian government leaders and key energy players from both countries.”
Prime Minister Alexander De Croo: “This first-ever Belgian-German Energy Summit is of great importance for strengthening our energy independence, accelerating the transition to renewable energy, and ensuring the future of our industry. The Belgian-German consultation is already delivering great results. For instance, we are working on connecting our CO2 and hydrogen networks. We are also doubling gas transit capacity to Germany and starting the study for the construction of a second electricity cable to connect Belgium and Germany.”