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. It was planned to complete the project by November 2017, however, bureaucratic obstacles imposed by local authority Ventspils and Ventspils Freeport Authority are affecting a speedy and efficient execution of this project.
VNT Managing Director Lars Pantzlaff points out: «In my working experience to date I have not come across such a strange situation triggered by the authorities needed for the confirmation and implementation of the project as they are themselves claim to be very vocal about implementing such system !»
In the initial stage of the VRU project VNT faced an obstacle in the path of placement of the equipment, as VNT has no direct lease agreement with Ventspils Freeport – the possessor of the state owned land plot required for VRU installation – in the area of the jetties. Only in late 2015 VNT overcame this issue by reaching an agreement with JSC Ventbunkers on lease of the required land plot. On 22 February 2016 both companies submitted to Ventspils Freeport Authority a joint application on granting the lease rights to VNT. Ventspils Freeport Authority claimed that due to the arrest of JSC Ventbunkers shares in 2008, it cannot decide on granting lease rights on the land plot leased by JSC Ventbunkers until the prosecutor’s office issues the approval on absence of the objections as to this subject.
VNT addressed the criminal court board of Riga Regional Court and obtained the required approval that refutes the opinion of Ventspils Freeport Authority and serves as a proof to the fact that Ventspils Freeport Authority has the rights and competence to solve any questions and make any decisions as to the land plot in its possession and leased by JSC Ventbunkers. VNT submitted the mentioned approval of the criminal court board of Riga Regional Court to Ventspils Freeport Authority on 13 May 2016.
Furthermore, for more than four months Ventspils Freeport Authority has been unable to issue the technical regulations required for the detail engineering of the VRU project. These technical regulations represent a standard document and should be available for tenants of the Ventspils Freeport Authority as a basis for pursuing their development projects.
Upon VNT request, Ventspils Freeport Authority invited VNT representatives to the Ventspils Freeport board extraordinary meeting on 27 May 2016. VNT hopes that during this extraordinary board meeting, where Ventspils City Council also has a significant representation, the outstanding matters of the VRU project implementation, including the land plot lease and issue of the technical regulations, will be finally resolved in the spirit of professional and efficient cooperation.
VNT Managing Director Lars Pantzlaff comments: «Working in Ventspils is similar to an obstacle course! It is rather strange that local authorities on one hand highlight the importance to install the VRU for the benefit of Ventspils residents, raise concerns about declining cargo volumes in the Ventspils port and the capabilities of companies to run their business; and on the other hand make little effort in their capacity to support the initiatives of VNT which are targeted towards environmental protection and assuring an attractive environment for oil product flows coming to Ventspils».