Officials in Germany on Friday broke ground on a project to build a jetty and related infrastructure for a floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU) at Dow’s Stade chemical production site near Hamburg.
The jetty is expected to be completed by the end of 2023.
The FSRU will have a regasification capacity of up to 7.5 billion cubic metres/year (bcm/year), processing imported liquefied natural gas (LNG).
It is one of five FSRUs chartered by the German government. The FSRUs will be operated by a recently launched new government-owned company, Deutsche Energy Terminal GmbH.
The Stade unit will be in operation until a planned land-based LNG terminal starts up there in 2027. Dow is a stakeholder in that project.
The jetty and other infrastructure work at Stade are expected to cost up to €300m, with financing from the federal and Lower Saxony state governments, and a loan from a state bank.
Government officials who attended the ground-breaking said that in view of the crisis triggered by the Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, the import of fossil liquid gas “is temporarily necessary” to ensure energy supplies in Germany.
The country will also seek to import hydrogen, but that will only be possible with a land-based import terminal, said Christian Meyer, energy minister of Lower Saxony.
Meanwhile, another FSRU arrived on Friday at the Brunsbuttel chemical site in Schleswig-Holstein state, also near Hamburg.
The unit will use an existing jetty and is expected to start up soon, with initial regasification processing of 3.5bcm/year.
By 2023/24, it will be transferred to its own jetty and will be connected to a new gas pipeline, enabling regasification of 7.5bcm/year, equivalent to about 8% of Germany’s annual gas consumption, officials said.
Two other FSRUs, one of them chartered by the government, recently started up at ports in Wilhelmshaven and Lubmin.
ARE THE LNG TERMINALS NEEDED?
German environmental group Deutsche Umwelthilfe warned that the federal and state governments were rushing to build up LNG import infrastructure that would end up making the country more dependent on fossil fuels, at the cost of the environment.
If necessary, more gas could be imported through existing terminals in neighbouring countries, the group said.
It called for an immediate pause to allow Germany to reconsider its gas needs, and it urged the government to suspend a recently passed law to accelerate LNG import projects.
Otherwise, Germany ran the risk of building an unnecessary fossil fuel-based LNG infrastructure that would make it impossible to achieve its climate goals, the group said.
According to New Climate Institute, a Cologne-based think tank, Germany could eventually have 11 LNG terminals – eight FSRUs and three land-based terminals – for a total regasification capacity of 73bcm/year, meaning that the country could theoretically import 50% more gas than before the Ukraine war.
The currently planned German LNG import terminals were “not absolutely necessary” to cover Germany’s gas requirements after Russia halted exports last year, the institute said in a recent paper.