Opening of the liquefied natural gas (LNG) competence centre in the seaport is a significant event for the Lithuanian LNG cluster members in the outgoing year 2016. A modern training infrastructure, which was marshalled in business incubator of Klaipėda University (KU), will serve the LNG terminal engineering students, as well as the specialists from Lithuania and abroad working in that field.
The students are in the spotlight
The opening of LNG competence centre on 28th December is an evidence of purposeful activity and strategy of cluster supported by all its members. Great momentum of the establishment of such a centre has become the program of LNG terminal engineering technology degree that was launched at the Klaipėda University this year.
“We perfectly realize that these students is a critical mass of future specialists, which is essential for the development of the LNG market in Klaipėda. Only if we have a sufficient amount of competent engineers, we can continue making the seaport a LNG distribution and technology centre in the Baltic Sea region that generates new job places and is able to attract international companies working in the field of LNG”, – stressed Andrius Sutnikas, Communication Manager at Klaipeda Science and Technology Park, the coordinator of LNG cluster.
Modern automation equipment
Academic young people going deeper into the LNG terminal engineering field have the opportunity to cooperate with the cluster companies implementing some of scientific initiatives. However, the possibility to get a very close knowledge of the LNG technological processes and to work with the equipment existing in Klaipėda from now, which is analogous to those installed in LNG terminals, is brand new and opens up a lot of space for the rapid development of students.
All members of the cluster take care of the development of LNG competence centre and unite their forces for this purpose. The USA Corporation of automation solutions Emerson has become the first solid sponsor during the creation of a new training infrastructure that donated a modern and valuable equipment. “At the start phase we aim to provide the students with the possibility to model the technological processes of the LNG terminal. Emerson solutions are characterized by extra high quality; they are spread all over the world, so we believe that it will be truly useful for the specialists prepared in Klaipėda to touch such equipment,”- said the Director of Emerson Process Management for the Baltic countries Algirdas Čebatorius.
Specific knowledge is in great demand
Based on an open access principle, the companies will also be able to use the infrastructure of LNG competence centre for training purposes. This is expected that this will greatly contribute to the expansion of business competitiveness in the field of LNG technology. At present, different companies owned by LNG cluster cooperate developing five innovation projects of research and development in order to present new solutions or services related to LNG technology to the market. Although the companies have a number of experienced engineers, however, the need for the LNG technology knowledge is felt in terms of both professionals and company managers, seeking closer cooperation with business partners. At the competence centre, the cluster companies will be able not only to present their technological solutions, but also training programs, enabling to work with them.
According to the General Director of AB Vakarų Laivų Gamykla owned by the cluster, Arnoldas Šileika confirmed this: “This centre is important to us in two ways. First, it provides an opportunity for our engineering staff to familiarize with the LNG technological processes. Second, in prospect, we expect to enter the LNG technology market by providing our products and services, and therefore such base would provide us with a competitive advantage in dealing with customers. The partnership of international companies in the implementation of LNG competence centre opens the possibilities of supplying the products and services in the global market.”
New opportunities for Klaipėda
Since Lithuanian cluster also brings together a few international companies, which are interested in the opportunities to expand on the LNG market, the new competence centre has a lot of potential to function as a specific business model as well.
Currently, AB Klaipėdos Nafta, AB Vakarų Laivų Gamykla, Klaipėda University, Lithuanian Maritime Academy, Klaipeda Science and Technology Park, Lithuanian Energy Institute, Klaipeda Free Economic Zone, the international partners Emerson and SGS belong to Lithuanian LNG cluster. Recently, tenth member – Norwegian company DNV-GL, joined the cluster. The cluster aims to unite science and business, to give impetus and enable to create and practically apply the knowledge in the field of LNG in the Baltic region.