Construction of a gas pipeline has begun in Lower Saxony. The aim is to deliver liquefied natural gas from a floating LNG platform in Wilhelmshaven to the German grid before Christmas.
"Today is a very decisive day for freeing ourselves from Russia's grip and imprisonment," said Lower Saxony's Environment Minister Olaf Lies (SPD), referring to Russian gas supplies to Germany. The project proves that Germany is also capable of "speed" in construction projects, he added. From December 22, gas is to be imported via the new jetty with the assistance of the pipeline.
Typically, the approval and construction process take eight years
The new pipeline will transport the delivered liquefied natural gas (LNG) over a distance of 26 kilometers from the jetty in the port to the hub at the gas storage facility in Etzel (Wittmund district). After its conversion, it will then be fed into the German gas grid. "We will do everything possible to be ready before Christmas," said Thomas Hüwener, managing director of gas grid operator Open Grid Europe (OGE). He, too, emphasized the fast pace at which construction was taking place. Approval, planning and construction all occurred within just ten months. This is only possible through intensive cooperation between politicians, authorities, land tenants and companies. "Typically, this takes eight years in this country," Hüwener said. The fast approach is made possible by the so-called LNG Acceleration Act, which allows pipelines to be built before the associated planning approval process has been completed.
The decision for further LNG terminals to be made in August
Energy Minister Lies confirmed that there are currently considerations with the federal government for further LNG terminals in Wilhelmshaven. "We will check for Wilhelmshaven whether there aren’t possibly one or two more units with which more gas can be imported." A decision on this should be made before the end of August, he said.
Lies referred to impending energy shortage
Lower Saxony's Energy Minister Olaf Lies (SPD) had said in July, referring to the speedy construction of the pipeline, "In view of the looming supply shortage, this is a signal that gives us courage." The terminal in Wilhelmshaven had only been approved at the beginning of July. According to Lies, around 7.5 billion cubic meters of gas per year could be fed into the grid via Wilhelmshaven alone. In the future, he said, even up to 20 billion cubic meters of gas a year would be possible. "That alone would replace 40 percent of the annual Russian gas supplies of recent years," the SPD politician had said.
Several objections submitted: decision at the end of August
There are 14 objections to the pipeline in the current planning approval process. The environmental organizations NABU and BUND had criticized the accelerated procedure. Even against the background of an impending gas supply emergency, the goals of the energy turnaround should not be abandoned, the two Lower Saxony state associations demanded. The exit from the fossil sources of energy must be pursued consistently. The energy supply may not be secured at the expense of protected habitats and species. Other critics fear that the ground could sink - because the Etzel cavern facility, an underground storage facility for crude oil and natural gas, is located in the area. In total, the pipeline consists of 1,500 individual pieces. The pipes are to run under fields and a federal highway. The state mining office plans to rule on the objections by the end of August.
Meanwhile, Lower Saxony's second LNG project in Stade has received 100 million euro financial backing from Berlin.
Status: 04/08/2022 19:34
NDR 1 Niedersachsen | Aktuell | 04.08.2022