According to the energy company Uniper, the first entire shipment of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to be imported into Germany arrived at the import facility in Wilhelmshaven on January 3. According to Uniper, the ship Maria Energy was loaded with approximately 170,000 cubic meters of LNG at the Calcasieu Pass export facility of LNG supplier Venture Global in the state of Louisiana in the United States. This quantity of LNG is sufficient to provide around 50,000 German households with energy for an entire year. The shipment of LNG to the Wilhelmshaven port is an integral part of the process of commissioning the facility. Midway through the month of January in 2023 is when commercial operations are anticipated to get underway there. On December 17, following a record-breakingly rapid building period, the terminal was finally opened to the public. Chancellor Olaf Scholz and several other ministers were in attendance for the opening ceremony.
Germany was compelled to diversify its gas supply away from Russian deliveries and put up its own infrastructure for the import of LNG as a result of the conflict in Ukraine. Up to this point, the nation’s natural gas supply came through pipes. In recent years, the United States has made significant efforts to promote LNG to its partners in Europe. It is being offered for sale as a supply that would assist customers in diversifying away from gas sourced from Russia as well as a strategy to minimize emissions of greenhouse gases by replacing coal with natural gas. This sales argument, however, is undermined by the significant emissions that are produced all throughout the value chain of gas delivery in the United States. Because of the high amounts of energy required for production, liquefaction, and transport, as well as methane emissions and flaring, burning gas can result in levels of pollution that are higher than those produced by burning coal. However, because there is such a glaring absence of monitoring and measuring, the true climate impact of LNG shipments from the United States and other countries is still unknown.
The delivery to Wilhelmshaven was described as “a historic low blow for climate and nature conservation” by Sascha Müller-Kraenner, the managing director of the non-governmental organization Environmental Action Germany (DUH). “By importing the gas, we nevertheless acknowledge that people in the U.S. will have to endure consequences, such as earthquakes, tainted groundwater, and increased cancer rates,” he said. Although unconventional fracking is prohibited in Germany. Müller-Kraenner issued a plea to the government and business, urging them not to develop “huge overcapacities” of LNG infrastructure and instead to first answer fundamental concerns, such as how big of a demand there is and where the gas ought to originate.