2020 November 10
A German company said Friday it is re-evaluating plans for a liquefied natural gas terminal in the North Sea port of Wilhelmshaven after failing to receive sufficient commitments from potential customers.
Imports of liquefied natural gas, or LNG, offer an alternative to gas piped from Russia. Germany has faced pressure from the United States and some other European countries to abandon the already well-advanced construction of a new pipeline, Nord Stream 2, that would bring more Russian gas to Germany under the Baltic Sea.
Washington argues that the pipeline will endanger European security by making Germany overly dependent on Russian gas. It also wants to sell more of its own LNG to Germany, which has Europe’s largest economy.
Plans are being pursued for four LNG terminals in Germany, including Wilhelmshaven. But Uniper, the lead company on the Wilhelmshaven project, said Friday that it will be re-evaluated “because of market players’ reluctance to make binding bookings for import capacities at the planned terminal in the current circumstances.”
It said in a statement that the procedure for gauging market interest ended a week ago “without a sufficient response.” Numerous market players “expressed general interest” but too few made binding commitments, it added.
New options being explored include “adapting individual parameters of the terminal or adding new elements,” with hydrogen imports a long-term possibility, Uniper said.
“Economic uncertainties have definitely played a role in the current circumstances,” project manager Oliver Giese said. “Many companies don’t want to make long-term commitments at the moment.”
German Economy Ministry spokeswoman Annika Einhorn said the government has in principle welcomed the LNG projects “to further diversify the gas infrastructure in Germany.”
She had no comment on Friday’s announcement, but noted that another three projects are ongoing and “we will see how these projects develop.”