A unit of ExxonMobil Corp. has entered into a heads of agreement (HOA) to take a “substantial share” of capacity long term from Uniper SE’s planned natural gas floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU) in Germany.
The Wilhelmshaven FSRU, which would be Germany’s first liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal, is designed to have send-out capacity of roughly 1 Bcf/d,or around 10 bcm/year. If all goes to plan, it could begin operating in the second half of 2022.
The parties plan to continue their discussions about the proposed facility in the coming months with a goal of securing binding agreements, the German utility said of the deal with ExxonMobil Gas Marketing Europe.
The HOA “is an important step toward the realization of the Wilhelmshaven FSRU project,” said Uniper’s Keith Martin, chief commercial officer. “The FSRU will provide LNG companies from the U.S., but also other countries from around the world, with the opportunity to deliver LNG into the German and European market. This will increase security of supply for customers at competitive price levels.”
Uniper recently concluded agreements to secure up to 1 million metric tons/year (mmty) of gas over three years from the Freeport LNG Development LP project on the upper Texas coast. Freeport has three liquefaction trains under construction with export capacity of 15 mmty-plus.
“Since Freeport LNG aims to start initial LNG deliveries in the second half of this year, Uniper has already begun worldwide marketing of the LNG of this agreement,” the German utility said.
FSRU technology would allow Uniper to construct the LNG project “fast and in the most economical way,” Martin said. The existing site in Wilhelmshaven already has some pipeline and gas storage infrastructure in place. Wilhelmshaven also is Germany’s only deepwater port, and it may be reached “without any tidal constraints,” Uniper noted.
The FSRU is being designed as a multi-user facility, and Uniper is considering additional counterparties that have expressed “serious interest in regasification capacity in the project.” As the project lead, the utility is working with relevant authorities to secure the necessary permits.
In December, Uniper secured an agreement with Japanese shipowner Mitsui OSK Line to own, finance and operate the FSRU. In addition, Uniper recently concluded an agreement with Dutch Titan LNG to develop the technical and commercial interface for small-scale LNG, as the FSRU would allow for loading bunker barges. Truck loading bays are also to be constructed to allow LNG to be transported by road.
Uniper is also a joint venture partner in Russia’s Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, which is scheduled to begin operations this year. The pipeline would move supply to Europe, tempering the need for LNG imports. U.S. Ambassador Richard Grenell earlier this month reportedly warned German companies working on the pipeline that they could be subject to sanctions, including disqualification from participating on projects.