Ventspils nafta terminals (VNT), one of the largest taxpayers in Ventspils and the largest contributor to the cargo turnover in the Ventspils Freeport, is in the process of investing EUR 5 million into the installation of a permanent vapour recovery unit (VRU) in the port of Ventspils.
VNT originally planned to install a permanent VRU by November 2017, while a temporary VRU was supposed to be installed by 15 May 2016. However as to the temporary VRU, VNT has regretfully not been able to succeed with its efforts. The implementation of both VRUs now solely depends on the cooperation with local authorities and Ventspils Freeport Authority as approvals and permits are needed.
For years Ventspils City Council has highlighted the importance to install the VRU in order to increase environmental protection standards and improve well-being of Ventspils residents. Though now VNT offers solutions to the problems, VRU installation still faces a number of bureaucratic obstacles.
VNT has overcome the obstacle of a missing land plot to place the systems on with its neighbour JSC Ventbunkers in a cooperative manner. On 22 February 2016, VNT together with JSC Ventbunkers submitted a joint application to Ventspils Freeport Authority with the request to support the lease of the land plot for the permanent VRU. In addition, VNT approached Ventspils Freeport Authority to grant its approval to place the temporary VRU on a land plot (30 m2) in the area of the jetties on an interim basis until the permanent VRU becomes operational.
Both requests are pending answers. Lars Pantzlaff comments: «Ventspils City Council gets seemingly caught up in its own contradictions and its actions increasingly defy any logic. Understandingly it would like to promote initiatives, in this case the installation of a VRU, that are for the benefit of residents it represents. As a company we support that. On the other hand, there is delay after delay as to related required approvals and permits on behalf of Ventspils Freeport Authority, an institution in which Ventspils City Council is very well represented. Unfortunately the public announcements of the City Council of Ventspils and reality seem to be not very well aligned.»
In response to the efforts of VNT, Ventspils Freeport Authority answered that these issues will be discussed to the board meeting of Ventspils Freeport Authority on 20 May 2016. Given the importance of this matter, VNT requested to be invited to represent the VRU project. On 24 May 2016, Ventspils Freeport Authority informed VNT that a next board meeting is scheduled on 26 May 2016 and VNT is invited to represent its plans as to its VRU projects.
On the actual day of the scheduled board meeting Ventspils Freeport Authority informed VNT that the board meeting has been rescheduled to 27 May 2016. VNT was again invited to present its plans with respect to Its VRU projects. Later on 26 May 2016, Ventspils Freeport Authority notified VNT that due to time constraints, VNT related issues will likely not be discussed in the board meeting on 27 May 2016 and advised VNT not to attend.
As there was no certainty whether the subject will be or will not be discussed during the board meeting on 27 May 2016, VNT prepared for its participation and was present at the premises of Ventspils Freeport Authority prior to the start of the meeting. Regretfully VNT was unable to present its VRU plans as this subject matter apparently had been removed from the agenda of the board meeting of the Ventspils Freeport Authority on the same day. The prepared materials by VNT for the board meeting are published together with this release.
Managing Director of VNT Lars Pantzlaff stated: «VNT started to approach Ventspils Freeport Authority with the joint application related to the land plot for the permanent vapor recovery unit already in February 2016. Considering the fact that the board of Ventspils Freeport Authority was unable to find time to attend to this urgent matter, clearly suggests a lack of consistency, direction, and self-imposed urgency evident in the management practices of these institutions. It raises questions about true intentions and willingness of local authorities and Ventspils Freeport Authority with respect to environmental protection and care for the residents of Ventspils.»