State oil company Qatar Petroleum and Europe's biggest port of Rotterdam have agreed to a long-term cooperation on strategy and development, the port said on Friday, Gulf News reported.
Rotterdam will help Qatar Petroleum to develop its Ras Laffan port, and in return the Dutch port hopes to gain closer links to the world's largest exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG).
"With this cooperation, Port of Rotterdam wants to strengthen its position as Europe's main energy port, especially in the supply chain for LNG and associated hydrocarbon products," the port's chief executive Hans Smits said.
The cooperation was laid out in a memorandum of understanding during a visit of Qatar's Prime Minister Shaikh Hamad Bin Jasem Bin Jabr Al Thani to the Netherlands last week.
Qatar sits on the world's third-largest gas reserves and aims to boost LNG capacity to 77 million tonnes in 2010. LNG production in Qatar is split between two companies, Qatargas and Rasgas, both majority owned by the state oil company Qatar Petroleum.
Dutch oil storage company Vopak and state pipe-line operator Gasunie have said they are planning to build an LNG terminal in Rotterdam, estimated to cost about 800 million euros ($1.25 billion).
They have said that the terminal should be fully operational in the second half of 2011 and will have an annual throughput capacity of 9 billion cubic metres, which can be increased to 16 billion cubic metres in the future.
The Netherlands has shifted its gas policy to increase imports and keep its declining reserves, Europe's second-biggest after Norway, as strategic stocks and an important source of revenue.