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Germany May Not Use All Its New LNG Capacity, But It Is Still Necessary

Germany may end up using less LNG import capacity than it has planned to roll out this decade, but better safe than sorry, the chief executive of the top German utility, RWE, said in an interview with German business magazines Der Stern and Capital.

“It may be the case that the LNG terminals are not fully utilized. But you need them as an insurance premium,” RWE’s CEO Markus Krebber said in the interview published on Wednesday.

RWE is leading the project for one of the floating storage and regasification units (FSRUs) that German utilities have chartered to start importing LNG as soon as possible. RWE is also a shareholder in one fixed import terminal that Germany has planned.

Germany no longer receives Russian gas via Nord Stream, which was sabotaged in the autumn of 2022. Even before that, Russia had slashed pipeline flows via Nord Stream, citing Western sanctions that prevented gas turbine maintenance.

Faced with the prospect of no Russian gas this winter, Germany rushed to install FSRUs. Two of those FSRUs are already operational, while a third is in the commissioning stage.

Europe’s biggest economy plans to have as much as 70.7 million tons per year of LNG import capacity by 2030, which will make it the fourth-largest LNG import capacity holder in the world, Argus reported last month, citing plans by the German economy ministry and RWE.

Germany plans to have a total of 10 FSRUs, some of which will be removed and replaced by onshore regasification facilities once they are built. The rush to have LNG import terminals as soon as possible will make Germany the fourth largest import capacity holder behind the major Asian LNG buyers South Korea, China, and Japan.

Governments in Europe, including Germany, are now more comfortable with the gas supply situation for the rest of the winter. But Germany has now turned its focus to restocking with gas for the next winter and continues to stress the importance of saving gas.  

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By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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