Photo: Courtesy of Uniper

Uniper to build, operate Germany’s first LNG terminal in Wilhelmshaven

German energy major Uniper will officially build and operate Germany’s first liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in Wilhelmshaven, investing around €65 million (about $68.9 million).

Uniper to build and operate Germany's first LNG terminal in Wilhelmshaven
Courtesy of Uniper

The important announcement was made today at a press conference in Wilhelmshaven, attended by Federal Minister Robert Habeck and the Lower Saxony Ministers Olaf Lies and Bernd Althusmann.

In February 2022, Germany revealed plans to build two LNG terminals in Brunsbüttel and Wilhelmshaven in an effort to reduce its dependence on Russian gas.

Following this, in April, Germany’s government revealed the “urgent” decision to invest about €2.5 billion in four floating LNG terminals.

Moreover, the federal government signed a letter of intent (LOI) for the chartering of four floating storage and regasification units (FSRUs). Uniper will operate two of the FSRUs and compatriot energy company RWE another two.

One of the FSRUs, owned by Norway company Höegh LNG, is already ready for use in Wilhelmshaven. Wilhelmshaven FSRU will have a capacity of up to 7.5 billion cbm per year and will cover around 8.5 per cent of Germany’s gas demand in the future.

The federal government and the government of Lower Saxony also signed an agreement on the expansion of Wilhelmshaven into a green energy hub for Germany.

Uniper said it will support this project with its on-site projects; in the short term in the form of the LNG terminal, and in the medium and long term in the form of the Green Wilhelmshaven project.

Wilhelmshaven LNG terminal phase 1

The first phase of the LNG terminal model will last until winter 2022/2023. It will provide for the regasification of LNG via an FSRU that can be connected to the existing Umschlagsanlage Voslapper Groden (UVG) sea bridge. There, the LNG will be converted into gaseous natural gas. The gas will then be fed into the German natural gas pipeline system.

For this project phase, the existing UVG has to be adapted and a connection between the FSRU and the onshore facilities has to be established. The adaptation of the UVG will be carried out by Niedersachsen Ports (NPorts) in cooperation with Uniper.

The connection to the natural gas pipeline system 28 kilometres away and thus also to the Etzel natural gas storage facility is currently being implemented by Open Grid Europe (OGE) and should be completed as soon as possible. With a capacity of up to 7.5 billion cbm per year, around 8.5 per cent of Germany’s natural gas requirements are to be landed in Wilhelmshaven in the future.

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Wilhelmshaven LNG terminal phase 2

The second project phase is scheduled to be completed by 2025. In this phase, a permanent and expanded port solution for the FSRU is to be implemented in parallel to the existing UVG.

The plan is to provide additional unloading and handling facilities for green gases, like ammonia, in order to be able to use the full potential of this new infrastructure project in Wilhelmshaven. The green ammonia is either transported away directly by rail or converted back into hydrogen on-site via so-called crackers.

The port infrastructure of NPorts and the Uniper-owned site enable the joint construction and operation of both the LNG and ammonia terminals.

Klaus-Dieter Maubach, CEO of Uniper, said: “Russia’s war against Ukraine has turned the world we live in upside down; this is especially true for the energy industry. We are doing our utmost to support the German government in its plan to diversify Germany’s sources of supply for natural gas and, in the long term, also for hydrogen.

With our LNG terminal, we are taking an important step – in close cooperation with the German government – towards the desired energy independence… In the medium and long term, we are developing Wilhelmshaven into the energy hub of the future, with a focus on hydrogen and green gases.”

As Offshore Energy already reported, Germany currently doesn’t have any LNG terminals or floating LNG terminals. However, this will change with three projects planned in Wilhelmshaven, Stade, and Brunsbüttel.