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ENERGY

First German port for natural gas imports to go into operation

On Tuesday, Germany’s first terminal for the import of liquified natural gas (LNG) will be opened at the port of Wilhelmshaven on the northwest coast.

Construction work at the import terminal for liquefied natural gas (LNG) in Wilhelmshaven.
Construction work at the import terminal for liquefied natural gas (LNG) in Wilhelmshaven. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH | Sina Schuldt

Prior to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Germany was receiving over half of its natural gas imports from Russia, but since the start of the war, it has sought alternative sources of energy supply, including liquified natural gas.

Niedersachsen Ports, a company owned by the state of Lower Saxony, has converted an existing landing site so that a floating storage and a “regasification” unit (FSRU) can be permanently stationed there.

Operations at the port will begin in mid-December when a fully loaded tank storage vessel is scheduled to moor.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: What are Germany’s alternatives to Russian gas?

Construction work on the landing site began in May this year and the station is opening ahead of schedule, as the original launch date was anticipated to be “at the turn of the year.” More LNG tankers will then start arriving in mid-January.

Other terminals to follow

Economics Minister Olaf Lies (SPD) wants to build a second terminal in the city of Wilhelmshaven on the Jade Bay. Wilhelmshaven II is scheduled to start up at the end of 2023, initially also as a floating terminal.

In Stade, a city in Lower Saxony on the Elbe river, a private consortium had already begun preparing a facility near the chemical park in cooperation with the US company Dow before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. A floating platform is to be launched here at the end of 2023.

Operations for a floating terminal are also due to start in Brunsbüttel – a town in Germany’s northernmost state of Schleswig-Holstein – this year. The first LNG tanker is scheduled to moor at the end of December. 

READ ALSO: Germany builds new gas terminals to succeed Russian pipelines

In Lubmin, near Greifswald in Mecklenburg Western-Pomerania, the Deutsche Regas company plans to import LNG with a floating terminal. Initially, there was talk of operations starting on December 1st, but permits are still pending. A second terminal is scheduled to start operations in the second half of 2023.

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ENERGY

Norway and Germany seek Nato-led cooperation for key undersea structures

Germany and Norway want to start a NATO-led alliance to protect critical underwater infrastructure, their leaders said on Wednesday, weeks after explosions hit two key gas pipelines in the fallout from the war in Ukraine.

Norway and Germany seek Nato-led cooperation for key undersea structures

 “We are in the process of asking the NATO Secretary General to set up a coordination office for the protection of underwater infrastructure,” German Chancellor Olaf Scholz told a press conference in Berlin.

“We take the protection of our critical infrastructure very seriously and nobody should believe that attacks will remain without consequences,” he said.

Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store said the alliance would be “an informal initiative to exchange between civilian and also military actors” with NATO providing “a centre, a coordination point”.

Underwater cables and pipelines were “arteries of the modern economy” and it was necessary to create “a coordinated joint effort to ensure security for this infrastructure”, he said.

Scholz said he and Store would propose the plan to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, who is due in Berlin for a security conference. The Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipelines off the Danish island of Bornholm were targeted by two huge explosions at the end of September.

The pipelines, which connect Russia to Germany, had been at the centre of geopolitical tensions as Moscow cut gas supplies to Europe in suspected
retaliation to Western sanctions over the invasion of Ukraine.

Although they were not in operation when the leaks occurred, they both still contained gas which spewed up through the water and into the atmosphere.

Russia and Western countries, particularly the United States, have traded bitter barbs over who is responsible for the blasts.

Several European countries have since taken steps to increase security around critical infrastructure. 

The G7 interior ministers warned earlier this month at a meeting in Germany that the Nord Stream explosions had highlighted “the need to better protect our critical infrastructure”.

Norway has become Europe’s main gas supplier in the wake of the war in Ukraine, taking the place of Russia.

The Scandinavian country has a vast network of pipelines, stretching for almost 9,000 kilometres, linking it to the continent, which experts have said are at risk of sabotage.

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