On the path to carbon neutrality, the years up to 2030 are characterized by the simultaneous decrease in demand for fossil fuels and increase in the use of low-carbon energy carriers. Players in energy infrastructures are caught in between, balancing the conventional and new energy systems.
The geopolitical landscape is changing, with oil and gas consumption and production centers rapidly moving away from Europe, toward East Asia and the Middle East. Europe’s trading position in oil and natural gas is slowly declining in importance. An increasing amount of oil products, natural gas and chemical products consumed in Europe will be fulfilled through imports, making tank storage key in ensuring domestic security of supply. This paper distinguishes longer term global trends from shorter term ongoing crises, but the war in Ukraine and Europe’s dependency on Russia highlight the role of tank storage in safeguarding strategic stocks & providing stability in times of volatility.
To a certain extent, storage companies already have some of the needed infrastructure for low-carbon energy carriers. For instance, many companies already have facilities to store methanol or ammonia, which are two of the main contenders to become dominant hydrogen carriers in the next years.
Still, up to 2030-2035, tank storage companies should further expand and diversify their infrastructure and services, to accelerate change. Although the adoption process of new energy carriers remains slow, it is clear that hydrogen, carbon capture, utilization, and storage efforts, electricity storage and circularity are indispensable to decarbonization.
This paper by Irina Patrahau, Michel Rademaker, Lucia van Geuns, Sarah Ojukwu and Philip Geurts is part three of a series of four reports regarding the role of European tank storage in the global energy system. It builds on the first paper that focuses on European tank storage in the global energy landscape and on the second paper that outlines the current role of the tank storage sector in global supply chains.
Read the complete paper series here:
- Paper 1: The European tank storage sector and the global energy landscape
- Paper 2: European tank storage in today’s global value chains: What role does it play in our economy?
This third paper analyzes the mid-term outlook (2030-2035) for tank storage by examining European and global energy ambitions in times of a changing geopolitical world. The fourth paper will discuss how energy world could develop in the long term (2050-2070) and identify the role tank storage could play in an uncertain future.
Authors: Irina Patrahau, Michel Rademaker (project leader), Lucia van Geuns, Sarah Ojukwu, Philip Geurts