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    German Regulator Excludes LNG Project Pipe


The regulator has waved through most network enhancement plans including Eugal, but not a pipe to connect the German LNG project.

by: Mark Smedley

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German Regulator Excludes LNG Project Pipe

Germany’s network regulator has excluded a gas pipe to connect the proposed Brunsbuttel LNG import terminal from a national network development plan.

Bundesnetzagentur (BNetzA) said December 20 the pipe must be removed from the NEP 2018-28 plan. This means that the pipe may still be built but that its funding must be solely the responsibility of the terminal's developer, German LNG.

German LNG - a joint venture of Dutch firms Gasunie and Vopak with Germany's Oiltanking – plans to build a 5bn m3/yr terminal by late 2022, subject to a final investment decision late 2019, at a cost of €400mn-€500mn ($457mn-$572mn). Brunsbuttel is on Elbe river estuary, near the North Sea. German LNG has yet to comment on the regulator's refusal. 

BNetzA reviewed the NEP 2018-28 plan submitted by the country's transmission system operators (TSOs) and agreed to 152 of the 159 projects in it. The amended NEP covers investment of €6.85bn ($7.8bn) - including 1,321km of new pipes and 499 MW of new compressors - compared with the original plan’s €7bn price tag.

The benefit of inclusion in the NEP is that investments are funded by transmission system operators (TSOs) with costs spread among all users of Germany's gas networks on the grounds that they benefit all users. BNetzA president Jochen Homann however said the regulator "confirms only grid expansion measures that are appropriate to [system] needs."

The largest project approved in the revised NEP is the €2.3bn, 55bn m3/yr, 480km long Eugal pipeline from Lubmin on the Baltic coast to the Czech border at Deutschneudorf. Eugal will relay Russian import volumes from the Gazprom-owned Nord Stream 2 pipeline project. Its developer says that first sections of Eugal will be laid in late 2019. Gasunie is an equity partner in both Eugal and German LNG.

BNetzA also approved proposed measures costing €171mn that can be implemented, if owners of the TENP pipeline - which relays North Sea and Dutch gas to southwest Germany and Switzerland - cannot fully restart it on schedule. Major works to upgrade TENP, much of which was built in the 1970s, have been underway for much of this year.