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France's TotalEnergies eyes FSRU deployment at German port of Lubmin


FSRU to have 5 Bcm/year regasification capacity

Would be fifth floating LNG terminal in Germany

Uniper, RWE chartering four other FSRUs

  • Author
  • Stuart Elliott
  • Editor
  • Alisdair Bowles
  • Commodity
  • Energy Transition LNG Natural Gas Shipping

France's TotalEnergies is in talks with German authorities about deploying one of its two floating LNG import vessels at Lubmin in northern Germany, a TotalEnergies spokesperson said July 15.

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Germany has no LNG import infrastructure at present, but efforts to develop a number of terminals have intensified since Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February and Berlin's stated ambition to phase out Russian gas imports.

There are now plans for at least five floating LNG import terminals in Germany as well as two permanent onshore sites -- the 13.3 Bcm/year Stade facility and the 8 Bcm/year Brunsbuttel site.

TotalEnergies said it would supply the FSRU for use by privately-owned Deutsche ReGas.

"As part of its actions to secure Europe's energy supply, TotalEnergies is currently discussing with the German authorities the possibility of strengthening Germany's LNG import capacity by providing Deutsche ReGas with one of TotalEnergies' two FSRUs," the TotalEnergies spokesperson said.

TotalEnergies is looking to deploy its other FSRU at the northern French port of Le Havre, with operations expected to begin in September 2023.

Deutsche ReGas

Deustche ReGas -- founded by Ingo Wagner and Stephan Knabe to develop the new LNG import facility in Lubmin -- said on July 13 it had reached a joint agreement with TotalEnergies on the use of an FSRU, which it called "Deutsche Ostsee."

The facility -- which Deutsche ReGas said could become operational as soon as December this year -- would have an import capacity of 5 Bcm/year, enough to meet some 5% of German gas demand.

The site at Lubmin is close the landing point of the Nord Stream and Nord Stream 2 pipelines.

According to Deutsche ReGas, the project would see a floating storage unit situated in the Baltic Sea where LNG tankers could offload their cargoes.

From there, three shuttle ships would transport the LNG to the FSRU in the port of Lubmin.

"The LNG terminal is privately financed and the FSRU and all other ships are chartered by Deutsche ReGas," it said, stressing that the project was not related to any of the four state-backed FSRUs chartered for deployment in Germany by utilities Uniper and RWE.

Uniper is working to develop sites for two FSRUs -- the Transgas Force and Transgas Power, both with a capacity of 7.5 Bcm/year.

Uniper has already begin construction work at the German port of Wilhelmshaven for the deployment of one FSRU.

RWE has chartered two FSRUs owned by Hoegh LNG, which combined will have an import capacity of 10-14 Bcm/year, RWE said in May.

Potential sites for the FSRUs include Brunsbuttel, Stade, Rostock and Hamburg, the German government said in May.

Future plans

Deutsche ReGas, meanwhile, said it would also be prepared to link two FSRUs in the area to subsea pipelines, which would allow it to supply more than 15 Bcm/year of gas to Germany.

"The throughput capacity for this amount of gas is available in the eastern German gas pipeline network," it said.

The infrastructure could also be used to import hydrogen in the future, it said.

German LNG developments have been boosted in recent months by a number of new regulatory initiatives.

In May, the German parliament approved a new law designed to accelerate the approval process for new LNG import terminals.

The German regulator then said in June it planned to lower the feed-in tariffs at LNG terminals by 40%, significantly improving the competitiveness of direct access into the unified German gas market hub, the THE.

The German government is looking to fast-track the installation of LNG import facilities given uncertainties over Russian gas supplies, with Berlin warning that a sudden interruption to deliveries could not be ruled out.

Concerns over Russian gas supplies to Europe continue to keep gas prices at sustained highs.

The Dutch TTF front-month contract was last assessed July 14 at Eur174.73/MWh, more than doubling since the start of the year, according to Platts assessments by S&P Global Commodity Insights.