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Germany's HEH eyes binding bids for Stade LNG import capacity in January


Developer plans to launch binding phase 'soon'

Completed non-binding capacity open season in February

One of two German LNG projects under development

Hanseatic Energy Hub -- the developer of the planned LNG import terminal at Stade in northern Germany -- is planning to launch the binding phase of its capacity booking process in the coming weeks and to have binding bids submitted in January, a senior company official told S&P Global Platts.

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The 12 Bcm/year onshore Stade LNG terminal is the largest of two remaining LNG plants under development in northern Germany, the other being the planned 8 Bcm/year project at Brunsbuttel.

Danielle Stoves, HEH's commercial and regulatory director, said the company needed approval of allocation rules from the German regulator, the Bundesnetzagentur (BNetzA), before being able to launch the binding phase for the Stade terminal.

"We're looking to open the binding phase soon subject to BNetzA approval with the aim of having binding bids in January," Stoves said Nov. 15.

HEH completed the first non-binding phase of the capacity open season in February this year and said at the time it confirmed market interest from global participants that supported the "full planned capacity" of the facility.

The project received a further boost in March when Belgian gas infrastructure operator Fluxys joined the project as shareholder and long-term operator.

The entry of Fluxys into the project followed a recent investment into HEH by private markets firm Partners Group. Commercial operations at the project are set to start in 2026.

Rival projects

Germany has no LNG import terminals at present, and Uniper last year abandoned plans for a 10 Bcm/year floating LNG import terminal at Wilhelmshaven.

The Brunsbuttel project was also hit by a setback last week when Dutch storage company Vopak said it had decided to end its "active participation" in the project.

Vopak was one of three companies that formed the German LNG Terminal (GLT) development company together with Dutch gas grid operator Gasunie and Germany's Oiltanking.

"After a strategic review, Vopak decided to discontinue its active participation in the German LNG project leading to an exceptional loss of Eur11.1 million ($12.7 million)," it said in its third-quarter earnings report.

Speaking on an earnings call Nov. 12, Vopak's outgoing CEO Eelco Hoekstra said that "the momentum commercially is not in full swing today."

Hoekstra said Vopak would continue to support the project, "but we'll do that in a more passive manner until conditions might change for the better."

A spokesperson for GLT told S&P Global Platts that the goal of building and operating the terminal would "continue to be pursued."

To date, there have been no announcements of binding capacity contracts to support the Brunsbuttel project development.