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Facilitating the energy transition using underground pipelines
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Study into a pipeline route from the Port of Antwerp to the Rühr Area

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Facilitating the energy transition using underground pipelines

The Government of Flanders (Environment) tasked Antea Group with the study of the spatial, economic, and procedural aspects associated with the planning reservation of a pipeline route. This included the design and analysis of potential routes, studying long-term economic potential, and exploring potential environmental procedures and participation processes for implementation.

The brief

Antwerp has developed into a world-class chemical cluster. The space for installing new pipelines is gradually hitting its limits. A pipeline route between the chemical cluster in the Port of Antwerp and the chemical companies in Limburg, the Netherlands, and the German Rühr Area may provide a solution to this problem. This would connect leading chemical clusters in Flanders with each other and our neighbouring countries, in addition to promoting economic development relying on sustainable modes of transport in the long term.

At the request of the Government of Flanders (Environment), we studied the potential for proactively reserving space to develop a corridor. The studies were conducted in consultation with the Belgian Pipeline Organisation (Fetrapi), the federation of the chemical and life sciences industries (Essenscia) and the Antwerp Port Authority.

The solution

We approached this complex issue from a three-fold perspective:

  1. We started by carrying out extensive spatial studies in the area between Antwerp’s port and the Belgian-Dutch border in Limburg with a view to mapping potential route alternatives.
  2. We also carried out a study into the economic potential of such a pipeline route, taking into account the needs in terms of underground transport of the industrial sectors involved in addition to long-term forecasts for the energy transition and the low-carbon economy and society trend.
  3. Finally, a design study was carried out and design workshops organised with local stakeholders, research carried out into local opportunities for implementation in addition to the social added value of such a pipeline corridor.

By facilitating sustainable transport infrastructure for chemical products and industrial gases, the foundation is laid for smart energy landscapes and the sustainable growth of our ports and industry.


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Organisation of a colloquium titled "What is the added value of a pipeline route between Antwerp and the Rühr area?" and exchange of experiences between Flanders and the Netherlands during interactive workshops.

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Start of the study into the potential for proactively reserving space for the development of a corridor.

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Completion of the feasibility study in which potential route alternatives were mapped for connecting the Port of Antwerp with the Belgian-Dutch border.

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Completion research into the economic potential of a pipeline corridor between the Port of Antwerp and various industrial clusters.

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Handover of the study results into the potential local and social added value of such a pipeline route.

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The Flemish Minister for the Environment and Energy announces that the Government of Flanders is launching a planning and permit procedure for such a corridor.

Partners and collaborations

We worked very closely with the following partners in the past years for the various studies in the margin of this mission:

  • Bureau Bas Smets
  • Dens communicatie
  • LDR advocaten
Facilitating the energy transition using underground pipelines

Pipelines are a full-fledged and safe mode of transport for the chemical industry. Other transport movements have a greater environmental impact. That is why we are reviving this project.

Zuhal Demir
Flemish Environment Minister


Met dit project ondersteunen wij de Duurzame Ontwikkelingsdoelstellingen van de Verenigde Naties:

SDG 7 - Betaalbare en duurzame energieSDG 9 - Industrie, innovatie en infrastructuur