Photo: For illustration purposes only (Image courtesy of Wintershall)

Wintershall CEO: Europe’s ports need LNG fueling stations

Germany’s largest natural gas and crude oil producer Wintershall,  a unit of BASF, is advocating greater use of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in maritime shipping.

“Europe’s ports need LNG fueling stations,” Wintershall’s Chief Executive Officer Mario Mehren said in a recent meeting with Hamburg’s First Mayor Peter Tschentscher, according to a Wintershall statement.

Mehren believes that LNG can also make a key contribution to reducing emissions at the Port of Hamburg.

Hamburg aims to cut air pollutants in the port area, which is located close to the city, in the coming years. One of the solutions the city has included in its latest Clean Air Plan is to create an LNG infrastructure at the Port of Hamburg.

When it presented its annual report in mid-November, the Association of German Seaport Operators (ZDS) likewise urged the need to take action: both regarding the use of LNG and the shore-side power supply systems for ships, the statement notes.

Although the private sector had invested in that, central government and the federal states had to create the conditions for shipping to actually be able to use LNG and shore-side power.

“Port and shipping locations currently face major challenges. It is equally up to business and government to firmly establish climate protection and sustainability as guiding principles for political and business conduct. Liquid natural gas – LNG – is a key component in this in order to reduce emissions, especially in a port near to an urban area,” said Peter Tschentscher.

“Liquefied natural gas isn’t available everywhere. That means Europe’s large ports will need LNG fueling stations for ships,” emphasized Mehren at the meeting.

The use of LNG in shipping could slash CO2 emissions by 30 percent and nitrogen oxides by 80 percent compared to heavy fuel oil and maritime diesel oil. That is why shipping companies in Hamburg are also converting container ships to run on the chilled fuel.

Worth mentioning here, the new AIDANova cruise ship, which was this week handed over by German shipyard Meyer Werft, is powered by LNG and is also the world’s first LNG-powered cruise ship.


Wintershall-DEA merger


During the meeting, Mehren also informed Tschentscher about the planned merger with Hamburg-based oil and gas producer DEA.

“We are creating the leading independent European oil and gas company, one that will have headquarters in Hamburg and in Kassel,” said Mehren.

He noted that the Hanseatic city plays a key role in the merger.

“We produce natural gas and crude oil in the North Sea – from Norway, to Germany to the Dutch coast. That also makes Hamburg, as Europe’s largest port, an ideal location for European and worldwide offshore operations,” stressed Mehren.

Wintershall and DEA have a combined workforce of almost 3,200 employees worldwide, around 520 of them at DEA in Hamburg.

The merger is expected to be completed in the first half of 2019.