The floating storage and regasification unit Hoegh Esperanza is expected to arrive at the North Sea port in Wilhelmshaven by the end of this week, enabling Germany to start importing liquefied natural gas there within weeks.
Construction works at the Wilhelmhaven import terminal were completed in mid-November, according to Uniper, the Germany energy company that will jointly operate the facility.
The 2018-built Esperanza FSRU left the Spanish port of Sagunto on 3 December and is due at Wilhelmshaven by Saturday, according to maritime analytics service Marine Traffic. The unit has capacity to hold 170,000 cubic metres of LNG.
The Hoegh Esperanza is the first of two Hoegh LNG-owned FSRU vessels set to start operations under charters to Germany energy trio Uniper and RWE and EnBW/VNG.
The second vessel will be moored at the German port of Brunsbuttel.
The two FSRUs will jointly enable the supply of between 10 billion and 14 billion cubic metres per annum of gas to the German gas market.
German FSRU shopping tour
The German government has reacted swiftly to the deterioration of energy ties with Russia that followed the Kremlin’s decision to invade Ukraine in February.
Interruption in supplies via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline and subsequent explosions on both Nord Stream ducts have spurred Germany to put new infrastructure in place to allow imported LNG to offer an alternative to Russian gas supplies.
On 16 August 2022, Germany’s Ministry for Economic Affairs & Climate Action issued a statement designed to create planning certainty for the supply and operation of FSRUs referring to the signing of a memorandum of understanding with German energy companies Uniper, RWE and EnBW/VNG.
The two terminals at Brunsbuttel and Wilhelmshavenat will be provisionally operated by Uniper and RWE until a special-purpose entity takes over.
“The companies which have signed the MoU have committed themselves to provide the necessary quantities of gas… The companies expressed their intention to deliver as much LNG as possible in the period from the turn of the year 2022/23 until 31 March 2024,” the statement read.
The German government swiftly facilitated the charter of another two FSRUs, each with a capacity of 5 MMcm.
The third and fourth FSRUs will be stationed in Stade and Lubmin respectively, according to the ministry statements.
Another Hoegh LNG-controlled FSRU will serve a partnership of TotalEnergies and Deutsche ReGas at Lubmin, in northeast Germany, where the facility is due to become operational this month.
The port of Lubmin was originally destined to receive Russian gas via the 55 Bcm per annum capacity Nord Stream 2 pipeline that was completed in September 2021, but never become operational.
In August Germany said it had secured the five-year charter of another FSRU vessel from Texas-headquartered Excelerate Energy, to be moored at Wilhelmshaven at a later stage.
The German government has also facilitated the charter of a pair of FSRUs controlled by Dynagas.
Excelerate Energy confirmed the move in October and identified the Wilhelmshaven-bound vessel as the Excelsior FSRU.
Hoegh LNG, Wilhelmshaven Port, Uniper have not replied to Upstream requests for comment.