Government postpones decision on disputed LNG terminal off Germany’s Baltic coast
Table.Media / Spiegel
Germany’s government has postponed a decision to include a planned new liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminal off the coast of the Baltic Sea island of Rügen in the country’s LNG Acceleration Act, as uncertainties remain over location and construction, Table.Media reported. The terminal was supposed to be put into the legislation to allow a faster planning and construction process, “but this is not possible because it is not clear where and by whom and whether the terminal will be built at all,” the news service writes. Talks with the state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania on this matter have not yet been concluded, a spokesperson told Table.Media.
Rügen is set to become the site of one of several new and temporary LNG import locations, hosting floating terminals, Floating Storage and Regasification Units (FSRUs). However, local and regional authorities, as well as the local population, have been very critical of the plans. They fear negative consequences for the local environment and tourism, which is particularly important on the island that is a popular holiday destination. A final location has therefore not yet been agreed and it remains unclear whether the terminal will be built at all. Energy company RWE – which has been involved in the project – has said that it aims to exit the project, news magazine Spiegel reported.
The war in Ukraine has pushed efforts to diversify Germany’s gas supply away from Russian deliveries to the top of the government’s agenda. The country is going full steam ahead in supporting the build-up of the its own LNG import infrastructure. It is planning to build permanent land-based import terminals, while leasing floating units in the short term – the first of which was inaugurated in December 2022. Germany has a well-developed natural gas pipeline grid and is connected to terminals in neighbouring countries, but until recently did not have its own port to receive LNG directly. NGOs and researchers criticise the government for pushing for a "massively oversized" import capacity, citing an expected decrease in gas demand and substantial capacity in neighbouring countries. The government argues that a significant "safety buffer" is necessary to secure German and European supply.