Safety & environment at the Dunkirk LNG terminal
Dunkerque LNG's commitments to safety are applied at every step: from Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) transport all the way to storage.
LNG transportation is ensured by methane tankers designed according to very precise safety standards, among them:
- reinforced hulls and double-walled storage tanks;
- an insulating coating that limits evaporation of the gas;
- very sensitive leak monitoring and detection devices;
- regular trainings and refresher courses for the crew.
Access to the boats from the port also follows strict regulation based on several studies (nautical risks, navigation, traffic and hydraulics) to ensure that methane tanker navigation takes place under optimum safety conditions.
After the ships dock, the LNG is unloaded with a highly secured pumping system:
- a minimum of intervention;
- at least two people present in addition to surveillance by instruments, detectors and cameras in the control room;
- unloading stops if the vessel moves unexpectedly during this phase.
The LNG is then stored in a heavy-duty steel reservoir covered by reinforced concrete. This tank was designed to be resilient in the case of natural disasters, accidents or malevolent acts.
Other checks and security standards have been established, in particular those linked to fires from leaks:
- emergency plans (internal operations plan, external emergency services…);
- firefighting equipment (fire pumps, water curtains, water cannons…);
- continuous monitoring of facilities thanks to control mechanisms as well as process and site monitoring screens.
In the summer of 2015, in preparation of the first filling of the reservoir and its subsequent use, orders (signed by the Mairie de Loon-Plage and the Préfecutre Maritime de la Manche) made new access restrictions official. Thus, access to the beach within 300 meters of the terminal is forbidden as well as navigation within 300 meters of the wharf and dikes is prohibited. The goal is to ensure the safety of outside people in the event of an accident.
Also note: On February 1, 2016, an access agreement to the Clipon site was signed between Dunkerque LNG, the Grand Port Maritime de Dunkerque, the Conseil Départemental du Nord and the associations and government environmental actors. This allows environmental actors to pursue their observation studies while respecting constraints of the methane terminal's operation.
Dunkirk LNG's objective is to maintain a high level of environmental standards. This commitment involves the ecological promotion of the non-built spaces of the site. The compensatory measures aim to safeguard the biodiversity of the places with:
- the development of a reception area for migratory birds in the municipality of Gravelines, with an area of 20 hectares, called "Sensitive natural area of Hems Saint-Pol";
- the development of an area which will be used for the preservation of biodiversity on 4.5 hectares;
- the reconstitution of avifauna habitats and the dune ecosystem with the creation of salt marshes serving as a feeding place for birds;
- the creation of an access development zone for fishermen.
The landscape integration of the site has also been thought out and the LNG terminal complies with regulations on noise pollution.
Finally, Dunkirk LNG undertakes to limit the thermal footprint of water discharges from the LNG terminal. The choice was made for a regasification solution without CO2 production using 5% of lukewarm water from the Gravelines nuclear power plant. This measure allows savings of up to 436,000 tonnes of CO2 per year.