German government to examine finances of private LNG operator

(Reuters) - The German government will examine the finances of Deutsche ReGas, the operator of a planned LNG terminal on the Baltic coast opposed by local authorities, it said in a response to a lawmaker seen by Reuters on Thursday.

The examination follows a request by a resort town on the island where the two floating plants are to be stationed for anti-money laundering authorities to look into the operator.

Germany is building up its LNG import capacity as it strives to end its reliance on piped Russian gas after Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine last year.

According to federal plans, two floating LNG terminals with a combined annual capacity of 10 billion cubic meters of gas are to be stationed off Ruegen island in the Baltic. The ships are to be operated privately by Deutsche ReGas.

The government will carry out "in-depth examination of the suitability and reliability of the potential contract partner" with a view to its planned leasing of the company's floating storage and reception units (FSRUs), economy ministry state secretary Philipp Nimmermann said in a letter dated Aug. 3.

Deutsche ReGas' financial capacity and the origin of its funds will be scrutinized, said the letter addressed to lawmaker Matthias Hauer.

The resort town of Binz on Ruegen, which opposes Deutsche ReGas' terminal on environmental grounds, asked anti-money laundering authorities in July to probe the firm's capital, with an examination by lawyers for the municipality of Ostseebad showing an "opaque financing background," they said.

Deutsche ReGas said it "resolutely rejected" the allegations.

Business Insider and Stern magazine earlier reported on the letter.

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