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50 years of LNG – 1962-1965: construction of the first liquefied natural gas terminal at Le Havre

The Le Havre terminal was the first of its kind in France. Construction work began in 1962 with the aim of meeting 40% of the Paris region's annual consumption of gas. It was the destination for the first Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) supply chain between Algeria and France in March 1965.

Following the discovery of the Hassi R'mel gas field in Algeria in November 1956, Gaz de France (now ENGIE) took up the challenge of transporting natural gas in its liquid state to meet the considerable demand for energy in Europe.

In 1962, a major contract was signed by Gaz de France with Société d’Exploitation des Hydrocarbures d’Hassi R’Mel (SEHR), paving the way for construction of the Arzew plant near Oran to liquefy natural gas from the Hassi R'mel field.

But the work didn't stop there, because the Group began work later that year on construction of the first French liquefied natural gas carrier - Jules Verne - and the Le Havre LNG terminal.

So on June 27, 1962, the company Gaz Marine placed its order for the future Jules Verne with the Ateliers et Chantiers de la Seine-Maritime shipyard at Le Trait, near Rouen.

Work on fitting out the Le Havre LNG terminal began at the same time. The future Gaz de France plant would be capable of meeting 40% of the annual gas consumption needs of the Paris region. The terminal itself would have a total storage capacity of 36,000 m3 and a maximum regasification rate of 200,000 m3 per hour. Gas pipelines were installed between Le Havre and the Paris region to supply the Algerian gas regasified at Le Havre.

It was on March 28, 1965 that the Le Havre terminal welcomed its first delivery of LNG when the Jules Verne arrived from Arzew with its cargo of Saharan natural gas transported in its liquid state.

This first LNG supply chain between France and Algeria marks the beginning of the French LNG industry story. Thereafter, the Le Havre LNG terminal received around half a billion cubic meters of natural gas every year, shipped from the Algerian coast to the coast of Normandy. It closed in 1989 after 24 years of service, because its capacity was no longer sufficient.

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