Germany’s HEH pushes back binding open season for Stade LNG import terminal

Hanseatic Energy Hub, or HEH, the developer of the planned LNG import terminal at Stade in northern Germany, has pushed back the binding phase of its capacity open season to near the end of September, a senior company official told S&P Global Platts.

The 12 Bcm/year onshore Stade LNG terminal is the largest of two remaining LNG plants under consideration in northern Germany, and HEH had planned to invite binding capacity bids in the second quarter of 2021.

“We are actually extending the timeline of the current phase — preparation for the binding phase — to allow us longer to work together with all interested parties to fine-tune the products and finalize the contract,” said Danielle Stoves, HEH’s commercial and regulatory director.

“We are therefore now planning to launch the binding phase in the second half of September,” Stoves said.

HEH completed the first non-binding phase of the capacity open season in February, and had said it confirmed market interest from global participants that supported the “full planned capacity” of the facility.

The project received a further boost last month when Belgian gas infrastructure operator Fluxys agreed to join the project as an “industrial partner.”

“We are working closely with Fluxys during this stage to ensure that we leverage their expertise and experience,” Stoves said, adding: “Interest in the terminal continues to grow.”

The entry of Fluxys into the project followed a recent investment into HEH by private markets firm Partners Group. Commercial operations at the project are set to start in 2026.

Wilhelmshaven switch

There are now only two German LNG projects under development after utility Uniper said this month it had shelved plans for a floating LNG import terminal at Wilhelmshaven, and is now conducting a feasibility study for the import of green ammonia as part of a hydrogen hub strategy instead.

Uniper had earlier said it was reevaluating plans for the 10 Bcm/year floating LNG import terminal at Wilhelmshaven after market participants showed lukewarm interest in booking binding long-term capacity at the plant.

Germany has no LNG import terminals at present, and there have been question marks about the need for a plant given how well the country is connected in Europe to numerous gas supply sources.

Announcing plans for its hydrogen hub at Wilhelmshaven, Uniper said its October 2020 market test for LNG capacity “proved that there is currently not enough interest in the LNG sector in terms of booking large, long-term capacities for LNG regasification in Germany.”

The other live LNG project in Germany is the planned 8 Bcm/year German LNG Terminal at Brunsbuettel in northern Germany.

Last month, a spokeswoman for the project development company German LNG Terminal, or GLT, told Platts it was finalizing binding import contracts with a number of participants.

GLT, whose backers are Dutch gas grid operator Gasunie, storage operator Vopak and Germany-based Oiltanking, is making “substantial progress,” the spokeswoman said.

“We are in the process of finalizing the contracts with the customers,” she said, adding that this pertained to “several binding contracts on import capacity.”

Germany’s RWE, which plans to take a sizable chunk of the capacity at the Brunsbuettel facility, said in November 2020 there had been a “slight delay” in finalizing the project with final investment decision expected in the first half of 2021.

In September 2018, RWE agreed to a provisional deal to secure a substantial part of the plant’s capacity, which was followed by similar deals with one unnamed company and Switzerland-based trader Axpo.