Dutch natural gas infrastructure and transportation company Gasunie is taking the helm of the German liquefied natural gas import project at Brunsbuttel.

Gasunie and Kreditanstalt fur Wiederaufbau (KfW) - on behalf of the German Federal Government – on Friday signed a memorandum of understanding to start construction of the LNG import project.

“In view of current political developments and their impact on the gas market… the current shareholders have agreed that Gasunie is the best partner for the German government to complete the terminal project quickly and successfully in order to ensure stable energy supply with gas and enhance security of supply in Germany,” existing – and now exiting -project partner Royal Vopak said.

The planning approval process for the German LNG project, which started in 2021, is now being moved ahead at full speed while the engineering, procurement and construction contracting consortium Cobra/SENER will be commissioned to immediately start the preparatory work.

The Brunsbuttel LNG receiving and regasification project includes a jetty with two berths for vessels up to Q-Max size and facilities for the distribution of LNG by tankers, railway tanker wagons and smaller vessels.

The proposed facility, which will have two 165,000-cubic metre LNG storage tanks, will have the capacity to supply up to 8 billion cubic metres of gas per annum into Germany’s gas network.

Vopak and Oiltanking, a subsidiary of Germany’s Marquard & Bahls, will now leave the project’s shareholding group by May.

"The state participation and the leadership of Gasunie enable the necessary accelerated realisation of the terminal. It is in the interest of securing the energy supply of Northwest Europe,” said Vopak LNG president Kees van Seventer and Oiltanking chief financial officer Rene Anghel in a joint statement.

“The framework including commercial conditions of this state participation and a private ownership are different and so Vopak and Oiltanking have decided not to participate further in the implementation of the project.

“We wish the project the greatest possible success."