German gas group SEFE on track for 30% of LNG in 2023 supply portfolio
ESSEN, Germany, May 23 (Reuters) - German gas importer and trader SEFE said on Tuesday liquefied natural gas (LNG) was likely to make up 30% of its source of supply as the state-controlled company moves away from pipeline gas which Russia used to supply.
SEFE - short for Securing Energy for Europe - is the former German division of Russia's Gazprom nationalised by the Berlin government last year at a cost of billions of euros.
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Overseen by Germany's Economy Ministry, SEFE has stepped up efforts to source LNG, initially mostly from the U.S. and the Middle East, to replace the Russian gas on which it once relied.
It is also sourcing more pipeline-delivered North Sea volumes.
Chief executive Egbert Laege said that LNG's 30% would be up from 10% last year and in excess of 20% initially targeted for 2023, as the company was successfully moving on from former ties with Russia since the invasion of Ukraine.
"I'm confident to achieve the 30% target," he told customers and press during Europe's E-World trade fair in Essen.
The first long-term LNG contracts, typically for 20 years, would also be signed this year, he said, after last year's supply crisis forced SEFE and peer Uniper to turn to expensive spot LNG markets.
Laege put SEFE's gas market shares at 5-10% in Europe and at 15% in Germany, servicing 500 large customers with a staff of 1,500 in major centres and overseas.
Under EU rules tied to the state trusteeship, the state share in SEFE must not exceed 25% after 2028, which Laege said was doable from today's point of view.
SEFE announced the rebranding of two subsidiaries at the trade fair - gas storage firm astora and trading and wholesale company Wingas - to bring them under a unified SEFE umbrella.
A strategic repositioning will entail restructuring activities around sourcing, trading, storing and distributing gas, while incorporating goals to transform to fossil-free energies such as hydrogen long-term, Laege said (Reporting by Vera Eckert, editing by Kirsten Donovan and Jane Merriman)