Uniper signs contract for planned German LNG terminal

27/05/2020 09:28 Natural Gas


German power producer Uniper has signed a contract to build and charter an LNG terminal vessel for a planned project in Wilhelmshaven with Japanese partner Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL), it said on Tuesday.

The terminal – resembling a large LNG ship – would be designed as a floating storage and regasification unit where LNG vessels can land without approaching the lower coastal waters, making it independent from tidal fluctuations and rendering time-intense manoeuvring for LNG vessels unnecessary, the company said.


Uniper plans to start a competitive tender process this summer to check the binding interest expressed by potential customers, it said in a press release.


Once the approval process for the project is completed, the final investment decision will be made subject to economic viability, Uniper said.


An open season procedure last year hadn’t brought any binding offers, Erichsen said, but he added his company was “more than satisfied with the interest expressed by other companies.”


While Uniper last year said it plans to start the unit with an annual throughput of 10 bcm/year in the second half of 2022, Erichsen now noted the company doesn’t comment on the expected timeline.


According to press reports, the discovery of a natural habitat in the region where the terminal vessel would be located could delay the process by 10 to 12 months.


Three possible ports
The company’s planning should, however, “minimize the environmental impact both on land and on the seabed by a non-disruptive crossing of the natural habitat identified in the environmental studies,” Uniper said.


Wilhelmshaven is one of three possible ports for a German LNG terminal, with another being the 8 bcm/year project in Brunsbuettel and a third being a less-advanced project in Stade, also with potentially 8 bcm/year.


Gas overtook hard coal in the German power mix last year for the first time to meet around 15% of the country’s power production needs, a trend expected to continue this year with gas prices at record lows amid continued oversupply and lower demand due to coronavirus lockdown measures.


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