Elbehafen LNG

FSRU Terminal Brunsbüttel

Copyright header image: Brunsbüttel Ports GmbH
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Strengthen the independent energy supply

Import of LNG into Germany

Germany is working hard to reduce its dependence on Russian energy. FSRUs or “Floating Storage and Regasification Units” are floating LNG terminals that represent a fast-track solution to import large amounts of liquefied natural gas (LNG) into Germany, a country that currently has no direct access to the LNG market. 

RWE has chartered two FSRUs on behalf of and at the expense of the German government. One of the FSRUs will now be placed in Brunsbüttel.

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FSRU vessel Gannet – Höegh LNG

The 300-metre-long vessel “Höegh Gannet” is capable of taking on up to 170,000 cubic metres of LNG from tankers in a single unloading operation, converting it into a gaseous state on board and then feeding it into the gas grid.

FSRUs are usually permanently moored and store LNG at a temperature of -161°C in cryogenic storage tanks. The cold temperature keeps the LNG cargo in its liquid state until it is needed for the gas grid and regasified on board.

Information on FSRU LNG terminals | RWE
Information on FSRU LNG terminals | RWE

Current information on the project

In Brunsbüttel, LNG regasification was successfully started on 22 March. Liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) can also be unloaded across the “Hoegh Gannet”. In the last few weeks, the facility has passed legally required technical tests and assessments by experts and authorities. With the LNG cargo delivered by the “LNG Sakura” at the beginning of May, the terminal has started its regular commercial operation. This will be carried out by the newly founded, federally owned Deutsche Energy Terminal GmbH (DET) at the beginning of 2023. Elbehafen LNG GmbH is responsible for the technical and operational management of the terminal.

Brunsbüttel is an ideal site for an FSRU terminal

The conditions in Brunsbüttel are ideal. The port town is situated on the mouth of the river Elbe, close to where the Kiel Canal meets the river, and its proximity to Hamburg also makes it an attractive location. The ChemCoast Park, the largest contiguous industrial zone in the state of Schleswig-Holstein with an excellent energy infrastructure, is located next to the port. 

In the first project phase, the Elbehafen LNG (RWE) project is constructing the necessary technical infrastructure in the port of Brunsbüttel. Brunsbüttel Ports GmbH is building a state-of-the-art jetty at which the FSRU will be operated in the further course of the project.

RWE Infographic - Floating LNG terminal- EN

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The technical operation of the FSRU will be managed by RWE and its project partners on behalf of the German government – regardless of whether it is moored in the port or later at the jetty. RWE has commissioned international regasification specialists Reganosa with operating the onshore infrastructure. Höegh LNG, the owners of the vessel, have been contracted by the German government to manage the technical operation of the ship. Commercial operation of the terminal is provided by Deutsche Energy Terminal GmbH, a new company founded by the German government. Marine Service GmbH is supporting the project with technical know-how as a development partner in the terminal design. Gasunie is constructing the gas connection pipeline required for operating the terminal. 

Immediately after arrival of the FSRU, a commissioning and test operation phase lasting several weeks is scheduled to begin. First, it will be connected to the new gas pipeline, meaning that some initial smaller volumes of gas can already be fed into the gas grid during the commissioning phase, from the beginning of February. The gas volume is set to increase continuously as more technical components of the newly constructed technical infrastructure and hot water supply are activated. 

The project phases at a glance

The FSRU LNG Terminal project can be divided into three phases:

In phase 1 (starts in February 2023), in order to be able to use LNG for gas supply as quickly as possible, the FSRU will be operated at Brunsbüttel Ports' existing dangerous goods jetty. Normal port unloading operations (LPG and crude oil) will take place in parallel. The handling of crude oil will take place at a different berth during this time. The unloading of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) will take place according to the ship-to-ship principle across the FSRU.

Phase 2 is expected to start at the end of 2023 and will involve the injection of LNG via a newly built jetty to the west of the Elbehafen. Brunsbüttel Ports will be responsible for the construction, which will start in the first quarter of 2023. The unloading of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) will again take place at the port's dangerous goods jetty.

In phases 1 & 2, the gas network operator Gasunie uses SW Netz's pipeline network to transport the gas volumes away. Due to an infrastructural bottleneck, the feed-in is limited to around 3.5 billion m³ of gas per year (gas volume extracted from around 5.8 million m³ of LNG). The FSRU capacities are thus only partially utilised.

In phase 3, the gas volumes will be fed in via the newly constructed gas connection pipeline "ET180". From then on, the full FSRU capacities can be used and around 7.5 billion m³ of gas (gas volume obtained from 12.5 million m³ of LNG) can be fed in annually.

Import of LNG produces relatively low emissions

Thanks to their automated safety systems, floating storage and regasification units are among the most modern and least risky ships in the world. They are usually powered by the LNG stored on board.

Therefore, they emit less CO2, NOx, SOx and particulate matter emissions than most other types of ships burning heavy petroleum fuels. An LNG ship carries only small quantities of non-LNG fuels for the operation of non-propulsion systems.


Brunsbüttel set to become an important location for the energy transition in the long term

In addition to the LNG FSRU project, two more future-oriented projects at the Brunsbüttel site will be implemented in the coming years, under the leadership or with the participation of RWE and in coordination with the German government. 

LNG import and distribution terminal

The “German LNG Terminal GmbH” (50% KfW, 40% Gasunie, 10% RWE) is planning to construct, own and operate a multifunctional LNG terminal in Brunsbüttel. The planned terminal in the port will be built for the purpose of importing and distributing LNG and is set to commence operation in 2026 according to the latest plans. As a major shareholder in the LNG terminal, RWE supports conversion of the terminal to green technologies in the future. 

Ammonia terminal

RWE will build an import terminal for green ammonia right next to the new permanent LNG terminal. As a liquefied hydrogen derivative, green ammonia can play an important part in supplying Germany with green hydrogen. Around 300,000 tonnes of green ammonia per year are to be landed via the terminal and distributed onwards to customers from 2026. In this way, Brunsbüttel can become a beacon for the decarbonisation of industrial society. (Please see press release for further information)

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