Illustration; Courtesy of Uniper

Germany urged to follow in US footsteps and put an end to ‘LNG bonanza’

Environmental Action Germany (Deutsche Umwelthilfe – DUH), a non-governmental environmental and consumer protection organization, has called for the adoption of a moratorium like the one in place in the U.S. to stop – what it deems to be – unbridled LNG expansion in Germany.

Illustration; Courtesy of Uniper

As the German Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Action, Robert Habeck, prepared for a two-day government consultation visit to Washington on March 6–7, 2024, to discuss among other things energy and climate policy, the German NGO used the opportunity to call for a limit to LNG imports by following the example set by the Biden administration in late January 2024.

At the time, President Joe Biden announced an LNG permitting pause to get climate and environmental assessments out of the way, as the existing ones date back five years. This controversial decision caused an uproar among the oil and gas lobby but was praised by environmental groups.

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Meanwhile, the NGO is adamant that some of the existing import terminals in Germany received permits without environmental impact assessments, partially thanks to the LNG Acceleration Act.

However, Germany claims that the purpose of this law is to fortify the security of energy supplies by maintaining gas supplies from other countries through LNG terminals, which are a short-term solution to facilitate the import of gas in the transitional period. Additionally, the infrastructure is planned in such a way that it can be used for carbon-neutral solutions in the future.

Still, the DUH advocates for a stop to the construction of LNG terminals in Germany until “environmental and climate assessments have been carried out”. Last August, the NGO took legal action against the FSRU Neptune in the industrial port of Lubmin.

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The U.S. is Germany’s main LNG supplier. Last year, the country imported 5.9 billion cubic meters of LNG from the United States, priced at $2 billion and accounting for a whopping 82% of direct LNG imports to Germany.

Sascha Müller-Kraenner, Federal Managing Director of the DUH said: “The gas storage facilities are well filled, the prices have stabilized at a low level and the winter is coming to an end: This means that there is no longer any rush to further expand the LNG projects on both sides of the Atlantic. While U.S. President Biden has stopped LNG expansion in the USA for the time being, the LNG bonanza in Germany continues unbridled.”

He added: We call on Economics Minister Habeck to follow the example of his US partners and issue an LNG moratorium until urgently needed environmental and climate assessments have been carried out. He should use his discussions in the USA to find out about the U.S. moratorium and to agree on further cooperation on renewables, instead of pushing for the import of more and more fracking gas as LNG.”