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    Uniper Launches German LNG Open Season


The utility is planning an FSRU at Wilhelmshaven but will not own or operate it.

by: William Powell

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Natural Gas & LNG News, Europe, Corporate, Investments, News By Country, Germany

Uniper Launches German LNG Open Season

German utility Uniper is holding an open season for capacity at its planned floating storage and LNG regasification terminal at Wilhelmshaven, northern Germany (LTW), it said as it launched the process May 20. If all goes to plan, the first arrivals of LNG could start in three years.

Interested parties are to hand in a written expression of interest signed by their management, demonstrating that the party is already active on the market for liquefied natural gas (LNG) or intends to do so in the future. After having concluded a non-disclosure agreement, LTW will grant access to further details of the project. Afterwards, the participants can conclude a still non-binding agreement by July 19. The conclusion of binding contracts is planned for mid October 2019.

The nominal send-out capacity of LNG will be up to 10bn m³/yr. Wilhelmshaven offers ideal conditions from both marine and logistics perspective, Uniper said, as it is only 30 km from the natural gas grid and across mostly open country. LNG tankers will be able to access the deep-water facility independently of tides, in accordance with highest international security standards, it said. Bunkering and LNG trucking facilities will be integral parts of the project.

Uniper declined to discuss the contractual relationship between it and the terminal  owner and operator Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL) and whether MOL would be paid regardless of throughput. A Uniper spokesperson told NGW in January that after the terminal’s completion, Uniper would be an optimiser between gas procurement and marketing. "We are in discussions with policymakers and with companies from around the world that are willing to invest and that have the right know-how to make the project a reality at the lowest possible cost. We already know that this project is very competitive from a cost perspective," the company said.

It said in January that the US major ExxonMobil has provisionally booked a substantial amount of the capacity.

There is another LNG terminal planned for northern Germany, to be built by Dutch Gasunie and Hamburg-based Oil Tanking, in which Swiss Axpo and German utility RWE have expressed interest. There are also small-scale LNG terminals under consideration, such as the Novatek-Fluxys scheme, Rostock LNG.