German gas storage facilities are now more than 90% full, the country's economy ministry said Sept. 20, as Germany continues its efforts to prepare for the upcoming winter.
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As well as continuing to fill storage despite the halt in Russian gas flows in the Nord Stream pipeline, Germany is also looking to lock in LNG supplies for delivery into the first of its floating LNG terminals at the turn of the year.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz is set for a two-day visit to the Middle East on Sept. 24-25 where potential LNG supply deals with the UAE and Qatar are expected to be high on the agenda.
Scholz will also be in Saudi Arabia for talks with King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman during his tour of the region.
"The talks will probably focus, among other things, on intensifying cooperation in the areas of innovation and IT, energy and questions of regional security," Scholz's office said Sept. 19.
Germany -- which has no LNG import infrastructure at present -- is accelerating work to deploy FSRUs at Wilhelmshaven and Brunsbuttel to offset lost Russian gas volumes.
The reduction in Russian flows to Germany via Nord Stream since mid-June and then the complete halt in deliveries at the end of August have helped keep European gas prices at sustained highs.
Platts, part of S&P Global Commodity Insights, assessed the Dutch TTF month-ahead price at an all-time high of Eur319.98/MWh on Aug. 26. It was last assessed on Sept. 16 at Eur192.98/MWh, still 175% higher year on year.
Replacing Russian gas with LNG is one part of Germany's approach to handling the upcoming winter, with Berlin having also committed to cutting gas consumption by 20%.
Germany has also set itself strict storage goals, with the next target of 95% due on Nov. 1.
"Full storage is important for our supply security in winter, but does not replace energy savings," the economy ministry said Sept. 20. "Together we achieve the goal of 20% less consumption," it said.
Germany is developing a total of five state-backed FSRU projects, but the focus is initially on supplying LNG into the Wilhelmshaven and Brunsbuttel sites.
Key will be supply into the terminals -- and three other state-backed FSRUs under development in Germany -- both in the short and longer term.
Any new LNG supply deals with Germany could see deliveries locked in for 15 years.
Three key German gas importers -- Uniper, RWE and VNG -- have been tasked with securing LNG supplies to the two FSRUs.
The three companies signed a memorandum of understanding with the German economy ministry in mid-August on the operation of the two FSRUs and on the supply of LNG into the terminals to guarantee their full use.
The companies are likely to source LNG from their existing portfolios but could also agree long-term supply deals.
The first FSRU to be deployed at Wilhelmshaven will be the Hoegh Esperanza, which is scheduled to go into operation from the turn of the year 2022/2023.
A second Hoegh ship is to be stationed in Brunsbuttel also at the turn of the year. The FSRUs in Brunsbuttel and Wilhelmshaven are to be operated by RWE and Uniper.
The third and fourth FSRUs will be located in Stade and Lubmin, respectively, and are scheduled to be deployed by the end of 2023.
The FSRU at Stade will be operated by HEH and the Lubmin FSRU by RWE and Stena-Power.
A fifth state-backed FSRU will be deployed at Wilhelmshaven as part of a project between TES, Engie and E.ON.