Es should not be the only rescue, but at least an important support if Russia closes the pipelines: liquefied natural gas (LNG) from other sources. Germany also buys the raw material that can be transported by ship in large quantities on the world market – where something is available.
So far, the gas has had to be forwarded from the countries of arrival after being regasified. It is currently arriving in ports in France and the Netherlands, for example. The Federal Republic does not yet have its own terminals. That should change quickly, but not all applicant locations in the north have similar perspectives and planning statuses.
It starts in Wilhelmshaven
The first LNG plant is to be built in Wilhelmshaven on the Jadebusen. On July 1, the energy group Uniper – itself under great pressure because of falling Russian supplies – received the approval. A floating terminal is to be connected as a transitional measure before a permanent transhipment point is added later.
The construction work recently got underway. If everything goes according to plan, the state of Lower Saxony is calculating with a possible start of operations from December 21st. The sometimes lengthy and complex procedures with the authorities are said to have been significantly accelerated. According to Uniper, it took a good month from submitting the relevant application papers to early approval. The company generally aims to be able to operate the LNG terminal in winter.
Up to 7.5 billion cubic meters per year are to be handled via the Wilhelmshaven facility for receiving, temporarily storing and converting the heavily cooled natural gas – 8.5 percent of the current German gas requirement. Lower Saxony’s Energy Minister Olaf Lies (SPD) is hoping for a second terminal here, which he believes could possibly accommodate LNG as early as 2023.
In addition to the construction of the landing sites and the anchoring of special tankers, the integration into the national distribution network is important. At the end of June, the State Office for Mining, Energy and Geology issued its approval for a 26-kilometer pipeline operated by the network operator Open Grid Europe from Wilhelmshaven to the Etzel connection point.
Construction is also underway in Stade
Long before Russia’s attack on Ukraine put the topic of LNG on the political agenda, a private consortium in Stade, also in Lower Saxony, began preparing a terminal in the vicinity of the chemical park with the US company Dow. A capacity of 13.3 billion cubic meters per year is planned. “From 2026 we can cover up to 15 percent of German gas requirements with LNG and low-carbon energy sources such as bio-LNG and synthetic natural gas,” said the Managing Director of the Hanseatic Energy Hub, Johann Killinger, in April.
A swimming terminal is also conceivable here. The state government supports the plans, especially since Stade is well connected and the chemical park consumes a lot of electricity. Lies wants rapid implementation: “Everything is actually clear in Stade, we could order material tomorrow.”
Lower Saxony’s Prime Minister Stephan Weil (SPD) recently even estimated that it could be possible to replace Russian gas entirely with LNG arriving in Lower Saxony by the third quarter of 2023.
Floating terminal at Brunsbüttel
A swimming terminal at the mouth of the Elbe near Brunsbüttel is also scheduled to start work this year. According to the network operators Schleswig-Holstein Netz and Gasunie Deutschland, a three-kilometer pipeline will be built from the port of Brunsbüttel to the Schleswig-Holstein Netz transport pipeline in the fourth quarter, thereby connecting the terminal to the European gas network. Up to four billion cubic meters of natural gas could be fed into the grid each year.