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The race to build an LNG terminal in north Germany

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  1. skybrian
    From the article: [...] [...] [...]

    From the article:

    Shortly after Russian troops crossed on to Ukrainian soil in the spring, the talk was that building LNG terminals would take three to five years. Now politicians are confident the terminal and its connecting pipeline can be built in seven months, with works finishing on 21 December and gas flowing the day after.

    Uniper, which is managing the build, is only slightly more cautious, saying windy weather in the colder months could yet delay completion until the second half of the winter.


    Behind-schedule building projects, such as Berlin’s new airport and Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie concert hall, have in recent years busted myths of German efficiency. The LNG terminals are trying to buck the trend by instead emulating the model behind the creation of Tesla’s new Gigafactory in Brandenburg, with building works already starting while permit applications are still being scrutinised.

    “Everything that’s usually done step by step, we are now doing in parallel,” said Holger Kreetz, Uniper’s chief operating officer for asset management, on a boat trip to the far end of the Hooksiel jetty at the start of the week.

    Environmental impact assessments, usually a requisite step, are simply being skipped. The economic affairs minister, Robert Habeck, a Green party politician and self-proclaimed “biggest porpoise fan in the government”, has shrugged off concerns that building works could disturb the endangered aquatic mammals basking in Jade Bay. Ensuring Germany was no longer blackmailable by Putin had to take priority, he said.


    Open Grid Europe, the company connecting the terminal to the national gas grid, said its pipelines were 100% hydrogen-compatible barring some additional insulation before a switch over. Tests are proceeding to establish whether a natural underground salt dome outside Wilhelmshaven, where German emergency crude oil supplies have been stored since the 1970s, could hold hydrogen.


    While the enthusiasm of German politicians and energy companies for green hydrogen is palpable, economic realities may yet tie them to non-renewable gas for longer than they desire. China and Japan, the globe’s largest importers of LNG, have underused their long-term options with suppliers this summer, allowing Europe to rake in their off-takes. Come winter, they may insist on their share of the market, forcing countries like Germany into long-term commitments.

    Berlin’s negotiations over an LNG deal with Qatar are reportedly proving more difficult than expected, because the gas-rich Middle Eastern state was insisting on a contract running over 20 years until 2042.

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