Berlin (Godmode-Trader.de) – Japanese shipping company Mitsui OSK Lines and LNG Terminal Wilhelmshaven (LTW) have signed a construction contract and a contract for the so-called Storage and Reconstruction Unit (FSRU) for a planned LNG landing station in Wilhelmshaven. The floating LNG storage and remodeling center will be built by the South Korean shipping team Daewoo Shipbuilding Marine Engineering (DSME).
The report is equally positive and underscores Germany’s commitment to building LNG stations to secure future gas supply. There is only one incident: the media report quoted is two years old: it started May 27, 2020!
Germany is a country of mentors, not actors? Poor approval and construction progress in Germany, especially for large projects, have been repeatedly criticized. The most well-known example: years of controversy over the completion of BER, Berlin-Brandenburg Airport. But now Russian aggression and unpredictability are forcing action. The shock is profound. The order of the day is now: ‘Tempo Tesla’. Elon Musk built the first European factory in Grünheide near Berlin for a record time and without even having a final construction permit in his pocket previously. If this were not given to him in the end, he would break everything in a bad way. The related word ‘Tempo Deutschland’ (quote: Klaus-Dieter Maubach, CEO of Uniper) should now stand for efficiency, speed and success, and no longer laziness, forest approval or bad planning.
Liquid gas is to replace Russian energy from pipes. In northern Germany, several LNG stations will be built for this purpose in the next few years. Now the top priority is speed. In May, the first metal body was placed in the ocean near Wilhelmshaven. The pile operation is a prelude to the construction of a floating station near the coast. Early in the year 2022/23, liquefied natural gas (LNG) should land there and make Germany less dependent on energy from Russia. That is what the government plans to do.
In Wilhelmshaven there is a lot at stake for the government’s energy supply. By early May 2022, Russia’s natural gas dependence had already dropped from 55 percent to 35 percent, as Economy and Meteorological Minister Robert Habeck recently announced. Purchases from Norway and the Netherlands were added accordingly. But 35 percent of the gas supply is still high. If Russia shuts off the gas pipeline during the Ukraine war – it will be half the disaster for Germany as a trade zone. Currently, the only way to reduce Russia’s dependence is to import fossil fuels.
Last week, during a visit to a key construction site in Germany, Habeck signed an agreement to lease four storage vessels that will convert dissolved natural gas into gas and feed it into a pipeline. The Uniper energy company will run it on behalf of the federal government. Construction of a pipeline from the port to the Netra pipeline, for connecting to a nationwide gas distribution system, is also expected to be completed in record time. The pipeline is 26 miles long. According to Habeck, something like this “usually lasts five years with Germany sometimes 15. We want to have two stations online by Christmas”.
When natural gas is cooled to 165 degrees, it becomes liquid and contains only about 6 percent of its gas volume. Thus, LNG can be shipped to oil ships around the world. FSRU are special ships that take liquid gas from a large tank, convert it into a gas state on board and then deliver it to the gas network. Such stations can be set up faster than stationary ones and are therefore the measure of all things for the federal government.
Wilhelmshaven should be just the beginning. A second deployment of the FSRU facility of the same size is scheduled for early 2023 at Brunsbüttel in Schleswig-Holstein. The location of the other two FSRUs has not yet been determined. Stade, Rostock, Hamburg-Moorburg or Eemshaven in the Netherlands is a possible location. The government’s goal is to reduce Russia’s natural gas dependence by 10 percent by the summer of 2024. According to the Ministry of Economic Affairs, four FSRUs each have a volume of at least 5 billion cubic meters per year, ie a total of meters 20 billion cubic feet. That is one-fifth of Germany’s total natural gas consumption per year.