With its latest acquisition of four storage terminals in Sweden, Inter Terminals has increased its storage capacity by 40% and is now the largest independent terminal operator in Scandinavia.
‘When Vopak announced its plans to divest several of its smaller terminals about a year ago, we were immediately interested,’ says Martyn Lyons,
CEO of Inter Terminals.
‘The four terminals we acquired in Göthenburg, Malmo, Södertalje and Gavle really complement our storage assets across Europe. Whereas Vopak is focusing on its growth plans in the Middle East and the Far East we are concentrating on the market in northwest Europe.
The region has a very stable political and economic environment and we are familiar with the geography.’
The Swedish terminals function as a strategic storage and blending hub for the transshipment of refined products as well as the inland distribution of retail petroleum and petrochemical products. Significant trade imbalances exist in Europe between refinery supply and end-user demand locations, particularly with respect to fuel oil. These structural imbalances are expected to continue into the future. Coastal terminals in Sweden are well-positioned to facilitate the regional movement of petroleum products from Russia, the Baltic Rim and Europe to worldwide destinations.
The utilisation rate at the terminals in Sweden is over 90%, with land available for expansion opportunities. ‘A number of potential growth proje
cts are already being assessed in this exciting new location for Inter Terminals’, said Lyons.
Across the country Inter Terminals now owns a combined storage capacity of 7.4 million barrels across 144 tanks and five underground caverns.
The international storage operator first moved into Scandinavia in 2012 when it acquired four storage terminals from a subsidiary of Dong Energy, one of the largest energy groups in northern Europe.
‘The fall in oil prices in 2014 and the corresponding resurgence of contango in many product grades has had an overwhelmingly positive effect on our storage business in Denmark,’ Lyons explains. The Danish terminals, which consist of 1.8 million m3 in 50 mild steel tanks, now have a utilisation rate of over 90%.
‘In fact our utilisation rate for our whole European portfolio is over 91%,’ Lyons explains. ‘This means that whilst the business is doing very well we’re not completely full, so we still have something to offer new and existing customers.’
Now that Inter Terminals has storage capabilities on both sides of the Danish Straits it is in an excellent position to offer the best solutions to a wide range of customers. ‘For those companies actively trading and looking for large capacities we normally direct them to our tanks in Denmark,’ says Lyons. ‘And for those wanting smaller tanks in coastal areas, we can guide them towards Sweden.’
Elsewhere in Europe Inter Terminals is also building six new 1,500m3 stainless steel tanks at its bulk liquid storage facilities near Mannheim, Germany.
The company’s €6 million investment in additional capacity is in direct response to strong demand for specialty chemical storage services from south-west Germany’s prospering chemical production industry. The expansion will add 9,000 m3 of storage to existing mild and stainless steel tankage at the two-terminal complex on the River Rhine, Western Europe’s principal inland waterway. Once commissioned at the end of 2015, the Mannheim Terminals’ total storage capacity will be 312,000 m3 in 140 tanks.
‘The excellent location of these terminals, opposite Germany’s significant chemical cluster, means that they have been very successful since we acquired them in 2006,’ Lyons explains.
Looking to the future Inter Terminals plans to fulfil its remit from its shareholders to ‘continue seeking growth opportunities through organic growth and acquisition.’ In particular it has a dedicated team looking into LNG storage development. ‘The regulations that came in at the beginning of this year relating to marine fuel specifications added a new dimension to the market,’ Lyons explains, ‘But LNG has not taken off as quickly as many initially thought.’
Although the company was originally focused on the UK, Lyons sees limited opportunities for growth closer to home. ‘Our UK market is very successful and profitable,’ he explains.
‘But it is a mature market, with little growth in the chemical industry and with a declining refining sector. Around 40% of fuels consumed in the UK are now imported.
‘The sustained period of backwardation was painful for many storage operators, and we are therefore now hoping for a prolonged period of contango,’ says Lyons. ‘We are optimistic because historically over the last 10 years the amount of the time the market has spent in contango and backwardation has been about half and half.’