The count of floating storage and regasification units (FSRU) headed to Germany has officially risen to four as two of the nation’s major utilities pursue fast-tracked plans to increase liquefied natural gas (LNG) capacity.

FSRU

RWE AG and Uniper SE each have chartered two FSRUs to displace Russian gas with LNG exports from Western allies by early 2023. The four projects could increase the amount of natural gas available in Germany’s natural gas grid by up to 29 billion cubic meters/year (Bcm/y) when completed.

The retrofitted vessels equipped with regasification equipment could be positioned at strategic points around Germany to convert imported LNG cargoes into gas that could be transported throughout the grid.

RWE chartered two FSRUs owned by Norway’s Höegh LNG As, which operates the world’s largest fleet. RWE reported both units may add 10-14 Bcm/y of imported gas when operational.

RWE’s Andree Stracke, board chair for RWE’s trading subsidiary, said the company expects the FSRUs to be up and running by as early as next year. In this way, the company is supporting the German government in strengthening the security of supply in Germany in the short term and in moving away from a one-sided energy dependency as quickly as possible.”

RWE management added the framework for buying cargoes and site selection is to be done by the German government. Locations being considered include Wilhelmshaven, Brunsbüttel, Rostock and Stade.

Uniper secured its FSRUs from Greece-based Dynagas Ltd., with start-up expected in early 2023. Both units are expected to add 15 Bcm/y in regasification capacity.

Uniper also recently announced construction has begun to transition an FSRU unit into a permanent port-side terminal by 2025 for LNG and ammonia at Wilhelmshaven. A Wilhelmshaven project had been canceled to focus on energy transition solutions.

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RWE and Uniper have planned exit strategies from Russia. In the aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Western Europe has been scrambling for solutions to replace an estimated 155 Bcm/y by 2030.

Rystad Energy on Monday calculated that Europe may be behind on short-term and long-term goals to displace Russian gas. Europe could replace 37 Bcm by the end of the year and 100 Bcm by 2030. The race to head off a critical energy crisis is still fueling support as Latvia, Finland, Poland and more collaborate on gas import plans.

Chart Industries Inc. recently estimated that the FSRU projects expected to be sanctioned had doubled to 26 at the end of April.

New Fortress Energy announced Tuesday it inked a five-year charter for an FSRU with 6 MMcf capacity to be used by The Netherlands’ NV Nederlandse Gasunie. Gasunie has said it is aiming to create an additional 8 billion cubic meters/year of regasification capacity with its new terminal using FSRUs and supporting equipment.