Germany has opened the country’s first floating liquified natural gas (LNG) facility as Europe grapples with the energy shortage and seeks an alternative to pipeline fuel from Russia after President Putin went for invading Ukraine, triggering a strong response from the West.
Located at the northern port of Wilhelmshaven, which comprises storage and regasification unit (FSRU) ship, which is expected to be permanently stationed there.
The development comes after Berlin, like other countries in the European Union, is turning away from supplies Berlin is turning away from supplies from Russian fossil fuel, upon which Germany was heavily reliant, in the wake of Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.
The quay is the first in Germany to be adapted to accommodate a floating LNG terminal that allows ships to deliver gas in liquid form with the Norwegian vessel Höegh Esperanza expected to moor at the quay in December.
German Economy Minister Robert Habeck described the first of five planned floating terminals at the North Sea port of Wilhelmshaven as “a central building block for the security of our energy supplies this coming winter”.
The environment minister for the state of Lower Saxony, Christian Meyer, said the terminal would help secure Germany’s energy supplies in the short term. But he added that the further aim was to further develop the port to receive green hydrogen and renewable energy from the North Sea.
Police said last month that the landing facilities were being guarded around the clock while construction was underway. The decision was said to have been taken in response to the recent alleged sabotage of the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines in the Baltic Sea.
Habeck said the building of the mooring site had happened at “enormous speed” and called it proof that Germany was able to “quickly and with a high degree of decisiveness progress infrastructure projects”.
The terminal at Wilhelmshaven, and another at Brunsbüttel, are expected to be operational early next year.
The third and fourth FSRUs are to be opened at the ports of Stade and Lubmin, and are expected to be operational by the end of 2023. The fifth will be in Wilhelmshaven and is due to be up and running by the fourth quarter of next year.
In addition, a private special ship is planned for Lubmin with an annual capacity of 4.5bn m3 a year, to be ready from the end of 2022, according to the economics ministry.