27 Mar 2019, 12:19
Julian Wettengel

Cabinet drafts regulation to reduce costs for LNG terminal operators


Clean Energy Wire

The cabinet has agreed on a draft regulatory reform to reduce the costs to private investors of building Germany’s first national liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminal. In future, network operators, rather than LNG facility operators, will be responsible for constructing pipelines to link LNG facilities with the network. The aim of the reform is to “remove investment barriers to the private construction of LNG import terminals,” energy minister Peter Altmaier said. “It is now up to private investors to advance their plans for the construction of LNG terminals." The law reform  must be agreed by the council of state governments (Bundesrat).

The government has promised financial support for Germany’s first LNG import terminal. In February, Altmaier said LNG was an “important point of cooperation” between Germany and the United States, in what was seen as a bid to defuse tensions with Washington over international energy and security policy, and in particular the controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline project. The German government says LNG imports could contribute to a secure supply of natural gas “at competitive prices” and help Germany climate goals in line with the Paris Agreement. Critics say the construction of new LNG terminals would be detrimental to Germany’s efforts to meet climate targets, paving the way for a  dependency on imported gas that would expensive to reverse when stricter climate targets take effect in a decade or two’s time. “From a climate policy perspective, the German government's support for several planned LNG terminals in Germany is a fatal signal,” Laura Weis, campaigner at environmental NGO, said in a press release.

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