Germany Pivots Away From Pipelines Toward LNG Terminals

    Germany Approves Construction Of Two LNG Terminals To Reduce Dependence on Russian Gas

    For the second Nord Stream 2 pipeline, the opposing pipe strings were lifted from the seabed by the lay barge Fortuna and the pipe ends were cut and fitted together. The welding to connect the two lines took place on a platform located above the water on the side of the vessel. Then the connected pipeline was lowered to the seabed as one continuous string. (Image Courtesy Of Nord Stream 2 / Axel Schmidt)

    German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on Sunday that Germany will construct two liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminals to reduce dependence on Russian gas in response to the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

    “We have made the decision to quickly build two LNG terminals in Brunsbüttel and Wilhelmshaven,” Scholz told parliament in an emergency session.

    Germany marks the final destination for the controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline. The pipeline was supposed to reduce costs by providing a direct line from Russia to Germany via the Baltic Sea. Although complete, the Nord Stream 2 pipeline remains inactive due to geopolitical concerns and US sanctions. LNG creates a way for Germany to import natural gas from exporting nations such as the United States, Qatar, or Australia and reduce its dependence on Russian gas. However, Germany lacks the LNG regasification capacity or LNG import terminals needed to support sizeable LNG imports.

    “The events of the last few days and weeks have shown us that a responsible and forward-looking energy policy is not only crucial for our economy and our climate, but also crucial for our security,” Scholz said, adding that his government will “change course to overcome our dependence on imports from individual energy suppliers.”

    On September 6, 2021, specialists on the lay barge Fortuna welded the last pipe of the two strings of the Nord Stream 2 Pipeline. The pipe number 200,858 was subsequently lowered onto the seabed in German waters. (Image Courtesy Of Nord Stream 2 / Axel Schmidt)

    At a length of 759 miles (1222 km), Nord Stream 1 is the longest subsea pipeline in the world. It consists of two twin natural gas lines, the first of which was launched in November 2011 and the second was launched in October 2012. The lines run on the seabed of the Baltic Sea from Vyborg, Russia, to Lubmin, Germany. Due to increased demand, Russia’s national oil company, Gazprom, decided to build a second twin-line sub-sea pipeline, this time from Ust-Luga, Russia, to Lubmin, Germany.

    Nord Stream 2’s pipe was laid between 2018 to 2021. The first line was complete in June 2021 and the second line was complete in September 2021. However, Nord Stream 2 has yet to go into service due to geopolitical concerns put forth by the United States and several central and eastern European countries.

    “What is needed now in the short term can be combined with what is needed anyway in the long term for the success of the transformation [into a carbon-neutral economy],” the chancellor said, arguing that “an LNG terminal that receives gas today can also receive green hydrogen tomorrow.”