A detailed look at Germany's LNG buildout

German utility RWE's trading arm received its first cargo of LNG at the North Sea port of Brunsbuettel, following first LNG arrivals at Wilhelmshaven late last year and test shipments at Lubmin. Germany is looking to end its reliance on Russian gas and has started building up floating storage and regasification units (FSRUs) at various import locations in record time.

Six FSRUs spread over four sites are due to come online by the end of 2023. Each FSRU is capable of importing at least 5 billion cubic metres (bcm) of seaborne gas per year.

Below are details:


The Wilhelmshaven LNG port, developed by Uniper, in December saw the launch of Germany's first FSRU operations. Since then, cargos from a number of origins have been arriving regularly. The second FSRU is due in the fourth quarter of 2023. Local LNG activities will later be converted to handle clean hydrogen and ammonia and to accommodate electrolysis to produce green gases using renewable energy. Tree Energy Solutions (TES), which works with E.ON at Wilhelmshaven, and utility EWE have announced plans for an electrolyser plant to start in 2028.


In January, the FSRU Neptune, privately chartered by Deutsche ReGas, began test operations in the Baltic Sea port. It complements the five other FSRUs, which the government has agreed to lease. Another floating storage vessel, the Seapeak Hispania anchored near there in December, to feed future gas receipts to the Neptune. The unusual set up with two storage vessels takes account of shallow water and aims at protecting local wildlife. Small boats will shuttle gas to the Neptune.

Deutsche ReGas has said this is not yet a regular feed-in. The project was granted exemption from tariff and network access regulations for 20 years to increase competition with the state ones. ReGas said it has concluded long-term LNG supply deals with French TotalEnergies and Switzerland-based trading group MET for 80% of the terminal's long-term capacities. Lubmin is also due to receive an FSRU leased by the government by the end of 2023.


The Brunsbuettel FSRU is spearheaded by RWE as a forerunner of a land-based LNG facility that will start operations at the end of 2026, the year when an adjacent ammonia terminal will also start up. State bank KfW, Gasunie and RWE are stakeholders in the fixed terminal project, where Shell has committed itself to sizeable guaranteed purchases.


The Elbe river port on Jan. 20 officially started work on constructing a landing pier for an FSRU, which is due to arrive in the winter of 2023/24. Project operator Hanseatic Energy Hub (HEH) has also provisionally allocated regasification capacity at a planned land-based hub that could be operational in 2026/27. It is backed by gas network company Fluxys, investment firm Partners Group, logistics group Buss and chemicals company Dow. A final investment decision is expected in mid-2023, CEO Johann Killinger said last month.


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