Belgium-based Exmar has struck an agreement to provide a floating storage and regasification unit for the Netherlands in a deal that reinforces the commitment of European Union members to switch away from Russian piped gas supplies.

The deal also reflects the Netherlands’ need for energy security, as production from its Groningen field — Europe’s biggest onshore gas field — is set to be shut down by 2026 due to earthquakes caused by the extraction of its gas.

Exmar said its deal with Dutch utility Gasunie will begin within months and covers the five-year charter of the FSRU S188 barge which can handle 600 million cubic feet per day of gas.

The FSRU vessel will be deployed as a liquefied natural gas import terminal at Eemshaven in the Groningen region, said Exmar, “in view of the geopolitical developments currently going on in Europe and the increased emphasis of governments on the security of energy supply”.

Exmar said the vessel is due to be up and running by the end of the third quarter of 2022.

Nicolas Saverys, the contractor’s executive chairman, said the deal “proves the possibilities of our floating infrastructure solutions as a quick-to-market and competitive solution for securing energy supply to communities, industries and households”.

This agreement came just two week after Gasunie, RWE and Germany's KfW signed a memorandum of understanding for the joint construction of an LNG import terminal at Brunsbuttel in the German state of Schleswig-Holstein.

Gasunie wants to start building the terminal this year, which, in addition to LNG, will also be designed to importing hydrogen.

With an annual capacity of 8 billion cubic metres, the terminal will be operated by Gasunie.

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