Germany has released nearly €3 billion to acquire floating liquefied natural gas import terminals, the finance ministry said Friday (15 April), as it seeks to move away from dependence on Russian gas.
“Dependence on Russian energy imports must be reduced quickly and sustainably,” tweeted Finance Minister Christian Lindner.
“Floating LNG terminals make an important contribution to this, for which we must provide funding,” he added.
A total of €2.94 billion has been made available for the lease of these huge LNG carriers, the finance ministry told AFP.
Europe, and Germany in particular, is counting on LNG to reduce its dependence on Russian imports after Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.
Some 20 countries export this liquefied gas which is transported by ship, and whose three largest suppliers are Australia, Qatar and the United States.
Liquefied to take up less space, the LNG is regasified on arrival for distribution.
The mobile terminals, known as Floating Storage Regasification Units (FSRU), allow for converting LNG carried by a tanker into gas and injecting it into the pipeline network.
Last week European countries announced expanded efforts to wean themselves off Russian gas.
Russia is a major fossil fuel producer and accounted for around 45% of the European Union’s gas imports last year, but the bloc is under pressure to impose sanctions on oil and gas imports from Moscow.
In recent years, Germany has imported an average of 55% of its gas from Russia via onshore pipelines.
This share was reduced to 40% by the end of the first quarter of 2022, in favour of higher imports from the Netherlands, Norway and of LNG, according to the economy ministry.
Unlike several European countries, however, Germany does not have an onshore terminal to process imported liquefied gas.
For the time being, it relies on terminals in other EU countries, which limits its import capacity.
According to German media reports, the government is considering, in conjunction with private partners, the rental of three or four ships that would be positioned in North Sea or Baltic ports for this purpose.
Some of these facilities could be in operation by next winter.
The government does not consider it realistic to be able to do without Russian gas before mid-2024.