Liquified natural Gas (LNG) for Germany
Liquefied natural gas (LNG) is natural gas that has been cooled to a liquid state. It can be transported to Germany by ship from production facilities all over the world.
There are many arguments that support the realization of an LNG terminal in Germany and especially in Wilhelmshaven.
As Germany is phasing out the use of nuclear energy and coal power, the country’s electricity generation capacity is set to halve within the foreseeable future. Liquefied natural gas can cover a large part of the demand and ensure an affordable energy supply. In addition, natural gas is currently the most environmentally friendly of the fossil fuels and therefore makes an important contribution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
LNG terminals can be built either on land or as a floating unit. A floating terminal – known as a Floating Storage and Regasification Unit (FSRU) – as planned for Wilhelmshaven, can be realized most economically and quickly.
Uniper is working intensively with various partners on the realization of the terminal project in Wilhelmshaven. In 2018, Uniper began to market the capacity and to design the FSRU in detail.
LNG Terminal Wilhelmshaven GmbH (LTW), based in Wilhelmshaven, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Uniper. It will continue to implement the project in the existing location.
All of the required approval processes have already been initiated. Commissioning of the terminal is planned for 2023.
LNG helps to diversify gas sources for the European markets, thereby strengthening the security of the gas supply in Germany and Europe.
As a key element in the energy transition, gas will continue to play an important role in our energy mix in the future: both in power generation as well as in the industry, in the heating market and in the transport sector.
As natural gas production in Europe continues to decline significantly, the demand for imported natural gas will increase significantly in the coming decades. LNG will cover a substantial part of this additional import demand.
Additional supply sources will also serve to strengthen price competition in the gas markets, making this type of project in the interest of end customers.
LNG terminal Wilhelmshaven at a glance
- Location: The Jade Bay, the only deep water port in Germany
- Capacity: Nominal output of up to 10 bcm of natural gas per year, storage capacity of 263,000 m³ of LNG
- Onshore pipeline expansion: only 30 km to be built in mainly agricultural setting
- Project schedule: start of operation planned for 2023
Strategic importance of the project
- The development of an infrastructure for liquefied natural gas by establishing a terminal in Wilhelmshaven will connect Germany much better to the global gas markets than before. This will strengthen competition between global gas sources.
- The coalition agreement of the German federal government also provides for the establishment of an LNG infrastructure in Germany.
- An FSRU will provide competitive access to liquid gas markets in north-west Europe.
Pipeline network and infrastructure
- Wilhelmshaven is the location of Germany’s only deep water port. The infrastructure of the port is already perfectly suited to this type of project and it can be reached by LNG tankers of any size without tidal restrictions. The location is close to Germany’s existing pipeline and gas storage infrastructure.
- The existing infrastructure will speed up the project development.
FSRU and pipeline construction
- FSRU provider will be MOL (Mitsui O.S.K. Lines).
- The technical project development of the planned pipeline connection will be carried out by experienced employees of Uniper Technologies GmbH with the support of external consultants.
The Wilhelmshaven location is the best solution for an LNG terminal in Germany.
The LNG tankers can berth in accordance with international standards. Furthermore, Wilhelmshaven is Germany’s only deep water port. LNG tankers of all sizes can reach the facility independently of tides. In addition, the ideal maritime location allows LNG tankers to moor and dock without hindering traffic to other major ports.
There is an urban development agreement with the neighboring municipality of Wangerland that enables industry and tourisms to coexist.
The required pipeline connection to the nearby Netra natural gas pipeline will mainly pass through agricultural land.
The pre-conditions for a later landside expansion of the terminal for up to 40 bcm/a are already available.
The local economy will be strengthened by the construction of the terminal and the accompanying industry. The establishment of an FSRU will allow Wilhelmshaven and the region of Friesland to foster its role as an energy hub in Northwestern Europe.
Why an FSRU?
What is an FSRU?
- FSRU is an abbreviation of Floating Storage and Regasification Unit.
- An FSRU is a floating storage facility in which LNG is converted back into gas. Afterwards the gas is fed into the grid and delivered to the customer.
- An FSRU allows Germany to be connected to the global LNG market at significantly lower costs compared to the construction of an onshore terminal.
- The FSRU technology is commonly used in the LNG industry. Worldwide, more than 30 FSRUs are already in use and others are under construction.
The investment costs for an FSRU are significantly lower than those for the alternative concept of an onshore terminal. In addition, the time for implementation is much shorter.
The design of the FSRU in Wilhelmshaven offers the possibility to use LNG as an environmentally friendly fuel for shipping. The intention is for the planned plant to supply LNG fueling facilities for heavy-duty vehicles. The infrastructure provides an excellent connection to the transport network, facilitating the further transport of LNG on land (e.g. for transporting LNG to filling stations).
Technical details of an FSRU, Including Capacity
- The FSRU will fulfill corresponding international standards and regulations (IMO, MARPOL, SIGTTO, etc.).
- The FSRU is designed to operate for a period of 20 years, without having to leave the port.
- Length/width/depth: 345 m / 55 m / 12 m
- LNG tank volume: 263,000 m³
- Natural gas output: 1.1 million m³/h
- Max. natural gas output: 1.4 million m³/hr
FSRU – more details
- The FSRU will be permanently moored to the jetty.
- Flexible hoses connect the FSRU to LNG tankers. The expected loading rate will be 10,000 m³ of LNG per hour.
- The duration to the discharge operation is similar to the one of a onshore LNG terminal.
- The regasification will take place onboard. Sea water is used to heat the LNG.
- Natural gas will be discharged from the FSRU via three unloading arms and a gas metering station and be transported to the existing natural gas pipeline.
- The FSRU will be able to load LNG onto bunker barges via the regular manifolds as well as an additional set of manifolds designed for the smallest barges aiming e.g. at inland waterways.
- Up to five truck loading bays are planned to allow the onward transport of LNG by road or rail.
Partners and interested parties
In order to ensure the rapid implementation of the FSRU project at the Wilhelmshaven site, Uniper is working closely with the relevant authorities. We are also holding discussions with interested market players about long-term booking of capacities in the terminal.
In Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL), Uniper already has an experienced and reliable partner at its side.
Why is Uniper committed to the Wilhelmshaven FSRU Project?
Uniper is one of the largest gas companies in Europe and has the technical and commercial expertise to implement the project together with its strong partners. Uniper has over 15 years of experience in the LNG business.
Uniper is well-positioned in Europe along the entire gas value chain.
Uniper’s LNG portfolio is constantly expanding and includes transportation capacities and international LNG procurement projects. In addition, the LNG trading business has grown strongly in recent years.
Moreover, through its subsidiary Liqvis, Uniper is also active in the area of LNG mobility in the heavy transport sector.
Why MOL as a partner?
MOL is a Japanese transport company that was founded in 1964.
Throughout its longstanding history, MOL has grown into one of the world’s largest full-line marine transport groups.
MOL is one of the leading companies in the LNG shipping industry.
In 2017, MOL built the world’s largest FSRU: the FSRU Challenger (Turkey) – owned and operated by MOL. It represents the basis of the design for the FSRU Wilhelmshaven.
Open Season process
In May 2019, LTW investigated market participants’ interest in the Wilhelmshaven LNG terminal project through a so-called open season process.