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    Mitsui OSK Lines to Supply FLNG for Germany


The floating storage and regasification unit is awaiting Uniper's final investment decision.

by: William Powell

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Mitsui OSK Lines to Supply FLNG for Germany

Japanese shipowner Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL) and German LNG Terminal Wilhelmshaven (LTW) have signed a contract for a 263,000 m³ floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU), LTW owner Uniper said May 26.

The vessel will be built by Korea's Daewoo Shipbuilding Marine Engineering Co in Goeje and chartered by LTW for 20 years. It has been planned and custom designed by the two contracting parties in accordance with the local and environmental requirements for the German market and the Wilhelmshaven site.

Uniper expects to hold a competitive tender this summer to check the binding interest expressed by potential customers in the capacity. "Once the approval process for the project is completed, the final investment decision will be made subject to economic viability," Uniper said. 

The regasified LNG will be pumped under the sea to the deepwater port facilities and from there into the nearby high-pressure network, removing the need for regasification facilities on land. "This optimised planning will minimise the environmental impact both on land and on the seabed by a non-disruptive crossing of the natural habitat identified in the environmental studies," Uniper said.

Uniper COO David Bryson said the agreement was "an important milestone for both parties on the journey to establishing an LNG terminal in Wilhelmshaven" and would "build on the successful and trusting collaboration with MOL on previous major projects in the LNG ship market."

MOL executive officer Hiroyuki Nakano said the "unique tailored" FSRU design would meet all customer requirements for an economical regasification service in accordance with German environmental regulations. Our mission from this special moment is to execute the project and deliver the unit on time."

Wilhelmshaven is Germany's only deep-sea port and has the optimal infrastructure for offloading LNG tankers of all sizes. LNG ships are often hundreds of meters long, but they can land and turn here without difficulty, giving it a "significant economic advantage over other ports." Its proximity to the German long-distance gas pipe network and to important gas storage facilities makes integrating the system into the gas infrastructure comparatively simple and cost-effective.

There is at least one other LNG terminal planned for the German coast: one at Brunsbuettel, which is to be owned by German Oiltanking and two Dutch companies Gasunie and Vopak; and possibly a smaller one for bunkering, to be owned by Belgian transmission system operator Fluxys and Russian Novatek.