In the effort to free Germany from its dependency on Russian gas, a significant milestone has been reached: on behalf of, and in the name of the German government, RWE and Uniper have each chartered two Floating Storage and Regasification Units. FSRUs are specialised vessels that can offer a rapid interim solution for importing liquefied natural gas, LNG, until the first LNG terminals on the German mainland are completed. For the time being, the operational responsibility for its two floating facilities will lie with RWE, which will make all commercial decisions concerning the use of the ships and optimise these assets in the interest of the German government. RWE will have the technical operation handled by Höegh LNG.
Both RWE vessels are owned by Höegh LNG, which is the operator of the world's largest FSRU fleet. Each of the ships is capable of receiving up to 170 000 cubic metres of LNG via tankers in one unloading, converting it to the gaseous state on board and then feeding it into the gas grid. With the two 300-metre-long FSRUs, between 10 and 14 billion cubic metres of natural gas can be made available to the German gas market annually. By comparison, the throughput of a land-based LNG terminal is between 8 and 10 billion cubic metres per year.
The plan is for these two FSRU platforms to start operating by next winter. The framework conditions for the procurement of liquefied natural gas on the world market remain the responsibility of the German government.
The next step is to determine which unloading sites are suitable for the four FSRUs. Wilhelmshaven, Brunsbüttel, Rostock and Stade have been mooted. A first decision has been announced today for Wilhelmshaven to become an FSRU location.
Uniper has also facilitated the charter of two FSRUs to the German government to diversify and strengthen the security of the country’s gas supply. These are managed by Dynagas Ltd. ?The two FSRUs, Transgas Force and Transgas Power, both built in 2021, are said to be among the most modern, safe and environmentally friendly of their kind with a total natural gas-send-out capacity of up to 7.5 bcm/annum and an LNG storage capacity of 174 000 m³ each. The combined capacity is equivalent to approximately 30% of Russian gas imports into Germany. The FSRUs will commence their service early 2023 with first gas send-out depending on the completion of the onshore installations at the sites selected by the German government.
?Currently, there are 48 FSRUs in operation worldwide. The technology is well proven, with many years of operational experience. In Europe, similar installations are already in operation in Lithuania, Italy, Croatia and Turkey with several additional locations around Europe currently under preparation.