Germany builds up LNG import terminals
The EU Commission has approved a 40 million euro ($43.9 million) support measure for the land-based liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal at Germany’s Brunsbuettel on the North Sea, citing its contribution to the security and diversification of supply.
Germany’s quest to build up LNG import capacity has intensified as it seeks to end reliance on Russian pipeline gas after Russia invaded Ukraine last year.
Pending the provision of fixed terminals, it is using floating storage and reception units (FSRUs) to help replace piped Russian gas supply.
Three FSRUs are working at Wilhelmshaven, Brunsbuettel and Lubmin after Germany arranged their charter and onshore connections in record time. Wilhelmshaven, Mukran and Stade are due to add more ships for the 2023/24 winter.
Industry and the government are also building up terminal capacity in anticipation of increased use of hydrogen, which when produced using renewable energy can help the transition to a lower carbon economy.
Deutsche ReGas has sub-chartered a second FSRU from Transgas Power, with regasification capacity of 7.5 billion cubic metres (bcm), in a fresh step towards building up a new terminal at Mukran in the Baltic Sea.
LNG from Mukran is meant to flow to onshore grids via the nearby port of Lubmin from next winter. The project has triggered some local opposition.
Utility Uniper UN01.DE launched Germany’s first FSRU operations last December at the deep-water port on the North Sea. LNG/TKUK
It plans to add a land-based ammonia reception terminal and cracker in the second half of this decade. Ammonia is sometimes used as a carrier for hydrogen, whose low density otherwise makes its transportation over long distances complicated.
Tree Energy Solutions (TES) will operate a second FSRU from later in 2023 for five years, and plans to eventually convert the operations to clean gases.
The FSRU Neptune, chartered by Deutsche ReGas, began receiving LNG at Lubmin early this year. The gas is delivered to another storage vessel, the Seapeak Hispania, and shuttled to Lubmin in a set-up taking account of shallow water.
ReGas holds long-term supply deals with France’s TotalEnergies TTEF.PA and trading group MET.
The government wants the Neptune to move to Mukran, allowing the Seapeak Hispania to depart, and joining a second FSRU there, the Transgas Power. ReGas is tendering for LNG supplies to Mukran.
However, gas grid company Gascade needs to link Mukran via Lubmin to the mainland gas grids, making it hard to narrow down the likely start date of the project more closely than to the three months from December to February next year.
The Brunsbuettel FSRU, operated by RWE’s trading arm on the North Sea coast, became operational in mid-April.
It is the forerunner of a land-based LNG facility, now in receipt of a parcel of approved state support, that could start operations at the end of 2026, when an adjacent ammonia terminal could also start up. State bank KfW, Gasunie and RWE are stakeholders and Shell has committed itself to sizeable purchases.
The total costs for the land-based terminal are 1.3 billion euros.
The inland port on the river Elbe in January started work on a landing pier for an FSRU, to be ready in the winter of 2023/24. Designated vessel Transgas Force is now moored at Bremerhaven port to be fixed up for the purpose.
Project firm Hanseatic Energy Hub (HEH) also plans a land-based terminal where it has allocated regasification capacity that could be operational in 2027, including volumes for state-controlled Sefe and utility EnBW.
It has begun sounding out the market to determine whether the longer-term plans should be based largely on ammonia to be reconverted into clean hydrogen. It has identified a construction consortium.
HEH is backed by gas network company Fluxys, investment firm Partners Group, logistics group Buss and chemicals company Dow.
EnBW, which is also a buyer at Wilhelmshaven and Brunsbuettel, said it would double annual purchases to 6 bcm.
Source: Reuters (Reporting by Vera Eckert; Editing by Barbara Lewis and Jan Harvey)