In Lubmin on the Baltic Sea, the second German terminal for liquefied natural gas (LNG) officially started operations on Saturday. In the presence of the Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD), the operators of the plant in Western Pomerania received the operating license. After the LNG terminal in Wilhelmshaven, Lower Saxony, it is the second German terminal to be operational. According to the operator, it is the only fully privately financed terminal in Germany to date. Such LNG imports are also intended to replace missing Russian gas supplies. A separate infrastructure is being set up in Germany at high speed for this purpose.
When commissioning, Scholz referred to relaxation in the energy supply and gas prices. “We’ll get through this winter, everyone notices it at home, the gas supply is not affected,” said the Chancellor. “There was also no economic crisis in Germany.” In addition to aid programs worth billions, securing the energy supply is also a reason for this. “The prices for gas on the world markets are also falling here in Europe, including in Germany.”
Scholz spoke of a new “Germany pace”, which was also decisive for the quick completion of the Lubminer LNG terminal. Another terminal is to follow shortly in Brunsbüttel in Schleswig-Holstein. “It will continue next week in Brunsbüttel, where we will also see that a ship that is necessary for regasification arrives there,” announced Scholz.
Like the terminal in Lower Saxony, the Lubmin plant stands for Germany’s efforts to create alternatives for the lack of Russian gas supplies. In recent years, Germany has obtained a large part of its natural gas via the German-Russian Baltic Sea pipeline Nord Stream 1. After throttling, nothing at all comes by this route. In addition, the line, like its sister line Nord Stream 2, which never went into operation, was severely damaged by suspected sabotage.
Environmental associations: In the long term, Germany will create overcapacity
LNG (LNG) is delivered by ship from several regions of the world, converted back into gas and fed into the gas grid. As in Wilhelmshaven, a special ship takes on the LNG in Lubmin, converts it and feeds it in. These floating terminals could be put into position more quickly than fixed installations, which are also planned. The Confederation has chartered several floating terminals.
Depending on the circumstances, the floating terminals used or planned have a feed-in capacity of around five billion cubic meters of natural gas per year. Almost 60 billion cubic meters came via Nord Stream 1 alone in 2021. According to earlier information, in the winter of 2023/24 Germany intends to cover around a third of its previous gas requirements via floating LNG terminals. More are to start.
Environmental groups have criticized the fact that Germany is creating long-term overcapacity for gas imports and is thus hindering the desired phase-out of fossil fuels. The Federal Ministry of Economics had pointed out that there were also uncertainties in planned projects and that safety buffers were needed for possible failures. In addition, it is about an expanded infrastructure in Europe, from which other countries could benefit.
The company Deutsche Regas puts the costs for the Lubminer Terminal at around 100 million euros, which came from equity and from investors. At the beginning of the week, gas was introduced into the gas network for the first time as part of an approved test operation. In Wilhelmshaven it had already happened at the end of last year.
The launches of the two terminals have been met with criticism. The German Environmental Aid (DUH) has already lodged an objection to the operating license for the terminal in Wilhelmshaven and is calling for the operating period to be limited from 20 years to a maximum of 10 years. The DUH also criticizes the discharge of waste water treated with biocides into the sea. With a view to Lubmin, associations criticize what they see as a hasty approval and point out that there is currently no threat of a gas shortage. There are also complaints from residents about noise. Authorities have taken measurements.