Germany has taken a step toward tightening its energy security ahead of the coming winter by building its first floating terminal to store liquified natural gas, or LNG, completing the task in just six months, reports China Daily.
First floating terminal
The floating storage regasification unit, or FSRU, at the port of Wilhelmshaven hopes to receive its first shipment next month, on a tanker called the Hoegh Esperanza, which was previously on a three-year deployment in China, at Tianjin.
After a pier, pipelines, and electricity lines were completed at Wilhelmshaven in record time, the plan is for a second unit at Brunsbuttel to open next month, followed by three more next year.
Speaking in September when the consortium that would run the terminals was unveiled, Economy and Climate Minister Robert Habeck was keen to stress the importance of swift action, although as it turned out, Europe has experienced an uncharacteristically mild fall before the expected seasonal plunge in temperatures.
“All steps that free us as quickly as possible from the clutches of Russian imports are more necessary than ever in these times,” he said.
The Ukraine conflict
The Ukraine conflict has brought Germany’s previous energy reliance on Russia into sharp focus, and damage to the Nord Stream 1 pipeline means the country is now missing around 50 billion cubic meters, or bcm, of gas per year.
Each of the mobile terminals will be able to produce at least 5 bcm of gas per year, with some potentially reaching 8 bcm.
“Germany is looking to Wilhelmshaven today. The new LNG terminal is a big step towards a secure energy supply,” said Olaf Lies, economy minister for the state of Lower Saxony.
Habeck said the speed at which the project had been completed was testimony to the power of political cooperation.
“Germany can be fast and advance infrastructure projects with great determination when the federal and regional governments, together with the project participants, all pull together,” he said.
A “significant” step
Henning Gloystein, a consultant at political risk consultancy Eurasia Group, told it was a “significant” step in moving away from Russian energy dependence.
FSRUs are in effect LNG tankers that can both transport and regasify supercooled and highly pressured LNG, saving time, a feat also matched by the building process, which took just 194 days. However, this was done by avoiding an environmental impact assessment, which has raised some concerns.
“A creeping chemical accident looms in Wilhelmshaven and at the other LNG sites,” said Sascha Muller-Kraenner, CEO of Environmental Action Germany. “According to the application documents, (gas company) Uniper wants to discharge ten times as much biocide into the North Sea with its LNG terminal vessel as …was previously deemed acceptable at a comparable location.”
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Source: China Daily