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Issue title:

German LNG market developments

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The topic of the month in the last issue was an interview with Benjamin Lakatos, CEO of the Swiss MET Group. In the editorial, I announced the following interview: "Among other topics we discussed, he makes very ambitious and confident statements about the group's growth targets in Germany. For Mr Lakatos, a stake in Sefe is not out of the question. But read all about it for yourself". If you, dear reader, have read the interview, you will have noticed that the company name Sefe is not mentioned. Benjamin did not mention the name in the interview either. He only said: "If the state wants to sell its newly acquired holdings and there is a bidding competition, we are ready". Reducing this to Sefe was solely my interpretation. As my statement has confused market participants, the MET Group feels it is important to clarify. It is also correct.

Now to the current edition. The chapter on framework conditions contains detailed reports on the carbon management strategy, the climate protection agreements and the amendment to the 37th Federal Immission Control Ordinance Provision (BImSchV). These are not really gas issues. However, the possibility of carbon capture and storage (CCS) and the promotion of hydrogen as well as the use of CCS as part of the climate protection agreements are to some extent decisive for the potential of molecular energy sources in a decarbonised energy world and their market development. These are therefore important developments in the framework conditions. The publications made at the beginning of February and the beginning of March represent a starting point. However, implementation will be crucial. It has also been recognised regarding other topics that the difficulties lie at this level of implementation.

Topic of the month: German LNG market developments

In March, there were several developments in the German LNG market that should positively impact further market development.

1.1 Stade

The most important developments have undoubtedly taken place in Stade: The Energos Force FSRU arrived in Stade on 14 March. Under perfect conditions, the vessel can regasify up to five billion cubic metres of natural gas per year. However, it will be a few weeks before the first commercial volumes are fed into the grid. During this commissioning phase, all systems will be tested. Perhaps more importantly, on 21 March, the project company Hanseatic Energy Hub (HEH) announced the final investment decision for the onshore terminal in Stade. This was originally planned for the end of 2023 but has been repeatedly delayed. One of the reasons was that the EU Commission had to approve an amendment to the exemption from regulated access to the terminal. In the original BNetzA decision, the exemption was conditional on the terminal being commissioned by 19 August 2027 at the latest. At the request of HEH, this deadline was extended to 19 August 2029 in a new decision dated 15 February 2024. The decision had to be notified in advance by the EU Commission, was done on 22 January 2024. Unfortunately, key information is blacked out in the decision published by BK 7 in February. For example, it is not clear when exactly HEH expects the plant to be commissioned. However, two things in BK 7’s explanations are quite interesting. The project company gave four reasons for the delay in completion...