Germany’s Wilhelmshaven FSRU terminal welcomes first LNG tanker

Germany’s first FSRU-based import facility in Wilhelmshaven, operated by Uniper, has received its first liquefied natural gas (LNG) tanker.

The 2016-built 174,000-cbm LNG carrier, Maria Energy, owned by Greece’s TEN and chartered by Uniper, arrived in Wilhelmshaven on Tuesday, according to its AIS data provided by VesselsValue.

Helped by tugs, the vessel reached the FSRU at the cargo handling facility Vosslapper Groden at about 8:30am local time.

Maria Energy is carrying a cargo from Venture Global LNG’s Calcasieu Pass terminal in Cameron, Louisiana, the data shows.

Uniper previously said it expected the first LNG tanker to dock at the 170,000-cbm FSRU Hoegh Esperanza, owned by Norway’s Hoegh LNG, in early January.

The chartered FSRU arrived in Wilhelmshaven on December 15 while Uniper and its partners launched the facility two days later.

Prior to arriving in Wilhelmshaven, the FSRU took a cargo in Spain at the Saggas regasification plant in Sagunto operated by Enagas.

The vessel started supplying this gas to the German grid on December 21.

Uniper operates the FSRU-based facility on behalf of the German government, Niedersachsen Ports performed the works on the port infrastructure, such as the jetty, while OGE was responsible for the 26 kilometers long connecting pipeline.

Germany's Wilhelmshaven FSRU terminal welcomes first LNG tanker
Maria Energy and FSRU Hoegh Esperanza (Image: Uniper)

Commercial operations in mid-January 2023

Uniper confirmed the arrival of Maria Energy in a statement issued later on Tuesday.

The firm said it brought Germany’s first full cargo of LNG to the new LNG terminal in Wilhelmshaven.

According to Uniper, the LNG carrier will deliver 170,000 cbm of LNG or 97,147,000 cbm of natural gas, enough to supply around 50,000 German households with energy for one year.

The LNG cargo forms part of the commissioning process at the Wilhelmshaven terminal.

Commercial operations of the Wilhelmshaven terminal are expected to start in mid-January 2023, Uniper said.

Germany's Wilhelmshaven FSRU terminal welcomes first LNG tanker
Hoegh Esperanza in Wilhelmshaven (Image: Niedersachsen Ports)

Six FSRU-based terminals

The Wilhelmshaven facility is the first of six FSRU-based terminal in Germany that are expected to go online by the end of 2023.

The government backed the charter of five FSRUs while Deutsche ReGas is developing the first private FSRU-based facility in Lubmin.

German energy firm RWE is also expecting to receive the first commissioning cargo at the Elbhafen FSRU-based LNG import terminal in Brunsbuettel in January. This terminal will also feature Hoegh’s vessel, Hoegh Gannet.

In addition, Deutsche ReGas recently announced the arrival of the first LNG shipment at its FSRU-based facility in Lubmin.

However, this is only for testing purposes and Deutsche ReGas said that commercial operations would only begin after the completion of the test phase and the receipt of the operating license.

Depending on this, the Lubmin facility would become the second operational terminal in Germany, followed by the Brunsbuettel facility.

The three other FSRU-based terminals are expected to go online later in 2023.

(Article updated to add a statement by Uniper.)

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