Germany received its first shipment of liquefied natural gas — from the U.S. — at a new floating terminal in the North Sea port of Wilhelmshaven, a milestone in the nation’s quest to diversify its energy supplies.
A tanker arrived January 3, with enough gas to supply 50,000 German households with energy for a year, according to a joint statement from terminal operator Uniper SE and Venture Global LNG Inc. The vessel loaded at the latter company’s Calcasieu Pass project in Louisiana.
Germany is turning to LNG from allies such as the U.S. as it seeks to reduce dependence on Russia amid the Kremlin’s war in Ukraine. Berlin fast-tracked its first LNG import terminals by renting five floating storage and re-gasification units. The country’s first private floating LNG terminal, in Lubmin, received its first shipment in December, as the project nears an official start.
The cargo at Wilhelmshaven is part of the facility’s commissioning process. While the terminal opened in December, commercial operations are set to start in mid-January. Uniper plans to bring more LNG into Germany, both at Wilhelmshaven and at the Brunsbuettel terminal that’s set to open later in 2023.
Under an agreement signed with the government in 2022, Uniper, together with RWE AG, EnBW Energie Baden-Wuerttemberg AG and VNG AG will be responsible for the temporary supply to the two terminals.
Ample gas storage — in large part due to LNG imports — has helped Europe weather its energy crisis into the new year. Benchmark Dutch gas futures are now trading near their lowest levels since February.
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