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First LNG tanker arrives at Germany's new floating terminal

January 3, 2023

Germany has received its first standard shipment of LNG to one of its newly built terminals on the North Sea. Activists have protested the arrival of gas acquired through fracking.

The Maria Energy tanker docks at the floating terminal in Wilhelmshaven
The floating terminal in Wilhelmshaven was set up in just five monthsImage: Sina Schuldt/dpa/picture alliance

A tanker ship carrying liquified natural gas (LNG) arrived at the newly constructed floating terminal at the north German port of Wilhelmshaven on Tuesday.

The Maria Energy vessel was carrying a shipment of LNG from the US that would be converted back into gas and pumped into Germany's energy network.

The facility at Wilhelmshaven is one of several that were quickly set up to allow for the replacement of gas that had previously been flowing into Germany through pipelines.

Environmental activists said they would protest the arrival of the ship, arguing that Germany should not be importing fossil fuels, especially not gas acquired through fracking.

LNG pumps up Germany's energy network

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz inaugurated the facility in mid-December following the arrival of the Höegh Esperanza — a 300-meter-long ship specialized in converting LNG back into gas.

Germany cuts the ribbon on first LNG terminal

The vessel, which has been chartered from a Norwegian company, docked at the new floating terminal in December and will remain there while it is in use.

The Esperanza has a regasification capacity of 5 billion cubic meters per year.

Four more floating terminals are also in the works with another private project in Lubmin having already begun operations.

Germany's gas reserves have surpassed 90% despite the sharp reduction in imports from Russia, partially thanks to an unseasonably warm spell in December.

A blow to Germany's climate credentials

The non-profit organization Environmental Action Germany (DUH) has slammed the new LNG terminals and called the arrival of the first batch of fracking gas in Germany a "historic blow for the protection of the climate and nature."

"Besides the high environmentally damaging methane emissions, fracking technology uses up several million liters of water per drilling and can cause earthquakes," DUH Federal Managing Director Sascha Müller-Kraenner said on Tuesday.

Energy expert Constantin Zerger speaks to DW

Christian Meyer, the environment minister for the state of Lower Saxony where Wilhelmshaven is located, has previously said that the further aim for the port is to develop the facility so that it can receive green hydrogen, a clean renewable energy, but one that is not yet fully viable.

The German coalition government, which includes the Greens, has come under fire for reopening oil- and coal-fired power plants and delaying the closure of its last three nuclear power plants in response to the loss of Russian gas imports.

ab/fb (AP, dpa, AFP)

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