In search of solutions for the energy supply of the future

LNG.Agentur Niedersachsen invites to the LNG Dialogue

What can the energy supply in Germany look like in the future? What role does LNG play in this? What opportunities and risks does it entail? And: Does Germany need its own terminal to import LNG? This was discussed by 20 representatives of environmental associations, politics, science and industry at the LNG Dialogue, which was conducted online by the LNG.Agentur Niedersachsen on 19 November 2020.

Environmental associations are traditionally among the opponents of an expansion of the LNG infrastructure in Germany, with trade associations and companies being the main proponents. Moderator Tanja Föhr first collected arguments for and against the use of LNG and the realization of an import terminal. Then the participants discussed detailed questions in small groups.

Diverse arguments on both sides

It was shown that both sides could present a variety of arguments: For example, an LNG terminal could help to ensure the supply of energy in Germany, avoid price dependency and prevent a gas monopoly, according to the supporters. This would enable LNG to be offered as a fuel at a comparatively low price in Germany. “The energy requirements of the largest and strongest republic are immense, especially for the heating market and industry. Natural gas will therefore continue to play a very important role for a long time to come. So it makes sense to purchase gas worldwide as cheaply as possible and not to become dependent on supply chains. And this is exactly where LNG comes into play: simple transport of gas in liquid form instead of transporting it via pipelines – it is and will remain natural gas”, says Dr. Jörg Niegsch, Managing Director of Nord-West Oelleitung from Wilhelmshaven.

The supporters agreed that LNG as a fossil fuel could at best be a bridging technology until there were more climate-friendly solutions such as the use of hydrogen. “We are building the terminal so that it can be used for hydrogen imports in the future,” said Oliver Giese from Uniper, overall project manager of the planned LNG terminal in Wilhelmshaven. In addition, Alexey Mozgovoy, Head of Fuel and Biomethane, from the German Biogas Association, argued that “in the coming years, imported LNG can already be partially replaced by regionally produced biomethane, which can be used both in gaseous and liquefied form as Bio-LNG.

The “LNG opponents”, on the other hand, demanded that solutions based on fossil natural gas or LNG should no longer be used. They warned, for example, of the negative effects on the climate and of the need to create an expensive infrastructure for which there might be no use in a few years’ time. Representatives of environmental associations pointed out that gas consumption is declining overall and that existing LNG terminals are not being used to full capacity. The realization of a German LNG terminal would thus create an investment ruin.

Common objective: climate-neutral energy supply in Germany

It became clear that the participants – regardless of whether they were in favor or against the use of LNG – have a common goal: a sustainable and climate-neutral energy supply for Germany. However, they disagreed on how this can be achieved.

Common data basis is still partly missing

Oliver Giese from the side of the proponents also showed himself open-minded for alternative solutions. “I am very open to new technologies. We have to develop solutions to achieve CO2-free energy generation,” he said. However, it was unclear how long it would take before these solutions were available. “I believe that we need LNG for the transition period,” he said. “We have to find compromises, because we need energy in Germany.

It was also shown that the participants argued partly on the basis of very different data, for example on climate change. “So of course in each case one comes to different results”, said Katja Baumann, managing director of MARIKO GmbH in Leer, where the LNG.Agentur Niedersachsen is located. “That is a problem. We urgently need a common basis”. For this reason, MARIKO GmbH is currently not only working on a comparative study of emissions from various fuels, but is also planning a series of other events to bring together experts on the subject of LNG.

About LNG:

Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) is natural gas that is liquefied by cooling it down to a temperature of -163 °C, giving it a high energy density to facilitate transport and storage. In its liquid state, LNG is only about one six hundredth of the volume of gas under normal pressure. This means that LNG can be transported over long distances by vehicles and ships, regasified at its destination and distributed through gas networks or other ways. This requires an appropriate LNG infrastructure. There are thus two general options for transporting natural gas, gaseous transport via pipelines or transport in liquid form by ship, truck or train. Alternatively, renewable methane, for example from biogas production, can be converted to LNG, i.e. Bio-LNG. In this case, it is a particularly low-emission fuel that allows the LNG infrastructure to be integrated into the regional value chain.

Background information LNG.Agentur Niedersachsen:

With LNG.Agentur, Lower Saxony has set out to shape the opportunities and potential for sustainable economic LNG development on the coast and for the entire state. The objective is to actively support the development of an LNG infrastructure and LNG technology across all sectors in Lower Saxony and especially in the coastal region, but also to critically accompany it.

Would you like to find out more and get involved in the network? Then contact us!

The LNG.Agentur Niedersachsen is funded by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy (BMWi) and the Lower Saxony Ministry of Economics, Labour, Transport and Digitisation via the “Gemeinschaftsaufgabe Verbesserung der regionalen Wirtschaftsstruktur” (GRW). The office is located at MARIKO GmbH in Leer.

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