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Horizon

Europe Will Add 50 Bcm of LNG Import Capacity by End-2023

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Europe’s plans to replace its imports of Russian piped natural gas following the country’s invasion of Ukraine has prompted the region to expand its LNG import capacity to tap into global, flexible supplies. To speed up the process, Europe has opted to seek out floating storage and regasification units (FSRUs) to rapidly build out its LNG import capacity.

Energy Intelligence calculates that from September 2022 to October 2023, FSRUs will provide Europe with an extra 36.44 million tons per year, or the equivalent of 49.55 billion cubic meters per year, of new LNG import capacity. Comparatively, it is still dwarfed by the EU’s total 155 Bcm of Russian piped gas imported in 2021 but will be compensated by an increase in other imported piped supplies, an increase in renewable capacity and a slash in gas demand.

Germany

Germany, Europe’s largest Russian gas importer, will install up to five FSRUs by end-2023, equivalent to around 16.2 million tons/yr, or 22 Bcm/yr, of new import capacity. This is expected to replace most — but not all — of the country’s Russian piped gas imports, which totaled around 46 Bcm in 2021. Out of the five FSRUs obtained by Germany, two are set to begin operations in December — the 3.7 million ton/yr Brunsbuttel FSRU, operated by German utility RWE, and the 3.3 million ton/yr Lubmin FSRU, developed by Deutsche Regas.

The Brunsbuttel terminal will receive its commissioning cargo from Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. in late December after it signed an agreement with RWE last week. The parties also signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) over a multiyear LNG supply deal into Germany. Meanwhile, French major TotalEnergies is set to provide the FSRU for the Lubmin terminal and is also expected to operate and supply the project. Developer Deutsche Regas has said it is already working on a second project phase starting in December 2023, which would add another 7 Bcm/yr of capacity to the project by deploying a second FSRU.

Two more FSRUs are scheduled to come on line in the port of Wilhelmshaven in northwest Germany, most likely during 2023. German utility Uniper will operate the first one with 5.5 million tons/yr of capacity, which is expected to start operations by the end of this winter. Another 3.7 million ton/yr FSRU project planned to start up by October 2023 is being developed by Belgium-based Tree Energy Solutions (TES), utility E.On and France’s Engie, with the FSRU Excelsior being deployed by Excelerate. The French utility will be responsible for part of the project's LNG supply and will be its operator alongside TES.

Uniper and RWE chartered the FSRUs on behalf of the German federal government, and along with fellow utility EnBW agreed to fully utilize the terminals until Mar. 31, 2024. Separately, new privately owned LNG projects are expected to come on line, including the 9 million ton/yr onshore Stade LNG project.

Italy

Italy, Europe’s second-largest importer of Russian piped gas, is planning to add an extra 7.4 million tons/yr to the country’s existing LNG import capacity of 10.9 million tons/yr. Italian gas grid operator Snam purchased three FSRUs this year, two from Bermuda-based shipowner Golar and another from Norwegian shipowner BW LNG.

The $350 million, 3.7 million ton/yr Golar Tundra is expected to begin operations in spring 2023 at the Pombino LNG site near Livorno. The other Golar vessel, the Golar Arctic, will serve the Portovesme import project in Sardinia, but its conversion is expected to take about two years.

The 3.7 million ton/yr BW Singapore will be installed in Ravenna in northeastern Italy once its current charter agreement expires in November 2023. Snam says operations should start in the third quarter of 2024 once regulatory approvals and the connections to the gas grid are completed.

Western Europe

Elsewhere in Europe, the 5.9 million ton/yr Eemshaven import terminal in the Netherlands started operations in September and has already received eight LNG cargoes. The terminal is operated by Dutch grid operator Gasunie and consists of the Golar Igloo and the Eemshaven LNG FSRU vessels, which the company chartered for five years from Belgian shipowner Exmar. Eemshaven’s import capacity has been fully booked by Shell, Engie and Czech utility CEZ.

In France, Total is also going to install its 4 Bcm/yr Cape Anne FSRU at the port of Le Havre, expected to be operational in September 2023. France already has four operational LNG import terminals with a total import capacity of 25.6 million tons/yr, Europe’s third largest after Spain and the UK.

Baltics, Southeast Europe

In the Baltic Sea, Finland and Estonia are jointly developing an FSRU import terminal to supply both countries, planned to be installed at the port of Inkoo on Finland’s southern coast by this winter period. LNG imported here will be sent to either country through the bidirectional 2.6 Bcm/yr Balticconnector pipeline. Operator Gasgrid Finland signed a 10-year charter agreement for the 3.7 million ton/yr Exemplar with US-based Excelerate Energy in May, which is undergoing scheduled maintenance and winterization at the Spanish port of Ferrol.

In southeastern Europe, a region which has been extremely dependent on Russian piped gas imports, Croatia is planning to double the regasification capacity of its Krk FSRU to 6.1 Bcm/yr. No timeline for the completion of the expansion has been provided. In Greece, the long-planned 4 million ton/yr Alexandroupolis FSRU is expected to start up by end-2023 in the northeast, complementing the country’s existing 5.1 million ton/yr Revithoussa import terminal, located near Athens. Alexandroupolis is expected to supply Bulgaria through the Interconnector Bulgaria-Greece pipeline, which started operations on Oct. 1, after Bulgaria’s Bulgargaz booked 1 Bcm/yr of the terminal’s capacity for the next 10 years.

Non-EU Albania will also see an FSRU installed at the planned Vlora LNG terminal on the Adriatic Sea, following a MOU between Excelerate, Snam and Albania’s Albgaz to develop gas infrastructure connecting the terminal to the Albanian grid. In July, Excelerate also signed an MOU with Bulgaria’s Overgas to supply it with 1 Bcm/yr of regasified LNG for 10 years imported from the Albanian terminal.

For more coverage of the Ukraine crisis, visit Ukraine Crisis: Energy Impact >

This story has been corrected to clarify that the Exemplar FSRU vessel is undergoing scheduled maintenance and winterization, not conversion as originally published, and that the FSRU Excelsior was deployed by Excelerate Energy, not developed by Tree Energy Solutions, E.ON and Engie (WGI Nov. 1’22).

Europe's Planned LNG Import Terminals

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Topics:
LNG Demand, LNG Projects, Floating LNG, LNG Supply, Regasification, Gas Supply, Gas Pipelines, Ukraine Crisis
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