Germany currently only processes a small portion of its gas imports via the billion-dollar infrastructure for liquefied natural gas (LNG).

According to data from the Federal Network Agency, around 65.7 terawatt hours of LNG were imported between the opening of the first German LNG terminal in Wilhelmshaven a year ago and the beginning of December 2023. Overall, Germany’s gas imports totaled 933.4 terawatt hours during this time. The LNG share is therefore 7 percent.

Important building block for independent care

The federal government had promised LNG import capacities of 13.5 billion cubic meters of gas this year. This corresponds to more than 130 terawatt hours and therefore twice the amount of LNG that has actually been imported so far. The traffic light coalition pushed forward the import because the liquefied natural gas was intended to make a significant contribution to securing Germany’s energy supply.

“Even if we do not yet have to fully utilize the capacities of the LNG terminals, the terminals are an important building block for an independent and secure energy supply in Germany,” said Kerstin Andreae, Chairwoman of the Executive Board of the Federal Association of Energy and Water Industries (BDEW). . “We can currently obtain cheaper pipeline gas. However, the situation on the energy markets is still tense. It is therefore important that we have the LNG terminals.”

The impending gas shortage last winter is still in sight, Andreae continued. The government has therefore done well to avoid such situations as a precaution.

More LNG terminals planned

The LNG terminal in Wilhelmshaven, Lower Saxony, was the first in Germany to feed gas into the network on December 21, 2022. With a feed-in of 42.6 terawatt hours, it is also the most important German LNG terminal to date, according to data from Europe’s Gas Infrastructure Operators (GIE), to which the Federal Ministry of Economics also refers. Brunsbüttel in Schleswig-Holstein has contributed 12.8 terawatt hours since the end of March. Since the end of April, there has also been a private terminal in Lubmin (Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania) with 6.7 terawatt hours.

A fourth LNG terminal will be handed over to the state of Lower Saxony and the operator in Stade on Saturday. Two more floating terminals are to follow in Wilhelmshaven and Rügen in 2024.

Stationary feeders are also planned in the future – also in order to be able to import hydrogen produced in the most climate-friendly way possible in the future. However, critics fear that the LNG infrastructure will create greater fossil energy capacity than is necessary to replace previous gas imports from Russia.

Germany imported the most gas this year with around 390 terawatt hours (TWh) from Norway, followed by the Netherlands (almost 232 TWh) and Belgium (almost 197 TWh). Because of the war in Ukraine, gas no longer flowed directly to Germany from Russia. According to the industry association BDEW, Germany purchased the vast majority of its LNG (84 percent) from the USA. The gas is often obtained there using the controversial fracking method. According to BDEW, the origin of the individual tankers and the composition of the LNG transported cannot always be clearly determined.