Germany wants to accelerate market access to liquefied natural gas
To enable “rapid market access to LNG in Germany”, economics minister Peter Altmaier (CDU) presented a draft paper for a change in energy industry law at a conference on the development of liquefied natural gas (LNG) import market with U.S. representatives.
“The central task of energy policy is to set the framework conditions for a secure, cost-efficient and environmentally compatible supply of gas and electricity,” the draft paper read. According to Altmaier’s plans, long-distance network operators would be obliged to build the necessary pipelines between the LNG terminals and the transmission system.
With regard to new LNG terminals in Germany, Altmaier said that “at least two locations” would be built in northern Germany. So far there are no import terminals for LNG in Germany.
“With LNG we can buy gas from even more suppliers and thus further increase our security of supply – but in the end it has to be done at competitive prices, of course,” Altmaier said before the conference.
Altmaier believes that more natural gas will be required in the future in order to supply enough energy during the transitional period. Germany will phase out nuclear energy by the end of 2022 and at the same time also gradually phase out coal-fired power generation. At the end of January, Germany’s Coal Commission proposed 2038 as the final date for the process.
According to deputy secretary of the U.S. department of energy, Dan Brouillette, prices for LNG are expected to fall significantly in the coming years, for example due to higher production capacities in the U.S. Brouillette also reiterated the U.S.’s criticism of the German-Russian Nord Stream 2 pipeline project.
Germany has “its own interest in diversifying its gas supply”, Altmaier said with regard to the German energy transition and declining imports from the North Sea. “As far as energy supply is concerned, Europe cannot and must not be susceptible to blackmail – whether by enemies or friends,” Altmaier added.
Last Friday, EU countries agreed on a compromise that would enable the Nord Stream 2 pipeline to continue to be built. The European gas directives are to be revised in future, but the project will not be endangered.