Germany Marks LNG Bunkering Milestone
Nauticor, part of Germany's Linde Group, says it has conducted the largest-ever LNG bunkering operation in Germany. The supplier of small-scale LNG loaded 85 metric tons of LNG onto the Scheldt River in the Elbehafen in Brunsbuttel, near Hamburg, on February 12 (see photo above, courtesy of Nauticor).
Five road trucks delivered the LNG to the 116-meter-long dredging vessel, and Nauticor plans to bunker the Belgian-flagged dredger, owned by Deme Group, at the same harbour in future too.
Brunsbuttel Ports LNG project manager Carsten Lorleberg said: “LNG bunker operations can be integrated into daily port operations” adding that the port aims to become the “leading LNG hub for maritime and industrial applications in Germany.”
A month ago Dutch firms Gasunie and Vopak, plus Germany’s Oiltanking, launched an Open Season for their planned 5bn m3/yr LNG import terminal at Brunsbuttel, expected to cost €400mn-€500mn ($490mn-$620mn) and, if it enters service, start up in 2022 as Germany’s first large LNG import terminal. There is at the moment a large surplus of import capacity though in that part of Europe, with many shippers writing down hundreds of millions of wasted investment in other plants over the past few years, Asia nearly always paying more for LNG than northwest Europe has needed to pay in order to attract pipeline gas.
The three firms' joint venture, German LNG Terminal, hopes that easy access to Scandinavian and Baltic markets, via Germany’s Kiel Canal which connects the North and Baltic Seas, will attract LNG trade. Gasunie has indicated that a final investment decision on the project will be taken 2019, but it’s not been announced when the Open Season will close.
Nauticor CEO Mahinde Abeynaike said: "At the end of this year, our new LNG bunker vessel will also be put into operation, which will allow us to conduct faster and more comprehensive bunker operations.” The company has said the vessel will operate mainly out of the Baltic LNG terminal port of Klaipeda, Lithuania. Nauticor’s sister company AGA also operates a mini-LNG terminal in Nynashamn near Stockholm.