Today, the first German site for the operation of a floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU) for importing LNG was officially launched in Wilhelmshaven. The ‘Esperanza’ FSRU – a special ship loaded with around 165,000 m³ of LNG – has arrived in Wilhelmshaven. In the next few days, it will regasify LNG for the first time, before starting normal operation in January. The Esperanza FSRU will have a regasification capacity of around 5 bn m³/year, which means that a first milestone for Germany’s future energy supply has been reached.

Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Action Robert Habeck said: “Today we are making a very important step towards energy security in Germany. This shows how much Germany can get done within only a few months when it is necessary. Germany can deliver infrastructure. Germany can act quickly when it has to. All stakeholders in the Federal Government, the Länder and businesses have pulled up their sleeves and done everything in their power to build an entirely new piece of infrastructure. More terminals will be added soon, before the end of winter, at the sites in Brunsbüttel and Lubmin. We have made good progress. However, we are not done just yet. We will continue to press vigorously ahead with our work, press ahead with expanding renewable energy by providing a better regulatory framework and, hopefully by adopting additional measures for speeding up renewables roll-out at EU level at the Energy Council next Monday. This said, gas remains a scarce resource and making careful use of it will continue to be a prerequisite.”

The LNG terminal in Wilhelmshaven is one of five FSRUs that have been chartered by the government. The special ship in Brunsbüttel will also start operation soon. As far as transmission capacity is concerned, this FSRU will deliver around 3.5 bn m³ of gas per year at first. From the end of 2023 onwards, this will go up to 7.5 bn m³.

Also, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed on 16 August 2022 between the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action, Uniper, RWE and EnBW/VNG on deliveries to this FSRU. After that, these companies want to fully utilise their delivery window for the terminals in Brunsbüttel and Wilhelmshaven from the turn of the year until 31 March 2024. This can make the maximum contribution to security of supply.

Further to this, a private-sector FSRU is planned to start operating in Lubmin before the end of this winter, with a capacity of around 4.5 bn m3. The remaining three FSRUs chartered by the government in Stade, Lubmin and a second one in Wilhelmshaven – each of which will have a capacity of around 5 bn m3 per year and ship – are to be available in winter 2023/2024.