As part of the Western race to find alternative energy sources that have compensated for imports from Russia, in recent weeks the battle for about 50 special ships that can turn liquefied gas directly into natural gas (gasification) is circulating around the world.
These ships are called FSRU, an acronym for floating storage and gasification unit saves the need to build terminals for producing gas from ships carrying liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the countries where it is produced, and should provide a dynamic solution to European countries, which now need to import huge amounts of gas instead. The Russian still flowing through the pipes from Russia.
The European Union has introduced a plan to “get rid” of Russian gas, fuel and coal, and Germany – where the resource is considered critical to the economy – is currently signing deals with gas-supply countries, which are undergoing a compression and condensing (LNG) process. German Economy Minister Robert Habakkuk visited Qatar last week and signed a deal on the matter. A future deal to import liquefied petroleum gas from the US was signed over the weekend with the US.
Prices for the use of ships soared
Germany’s acute problem is a shortage of LNG production terminals. The state announced the construction of such terminals quickly, but it is estimated that it will take at least two years to build one terminal, located on the shores of the North Sea. Therefore, attention is now focused on FSRU ships, which can enter into operation even before such terminals are built.
Germany has announced that it has been able to lease three such ships through a contract with a Dutch company, as have the Netherlands and Italy. The prices of their use have jumped by tens of percent, according to various estimates. “Europe is begging the FSRU to import energy, no matter what its cost,” the CEO of a Norwegian company leasing these platforms told the Financial Times.
Europe plans to replace about 50 billion cubic meters of natural gas it imports from Russia by the end of this year. One FSRU vessel is capable of flowing an average of 5 billion cubic meters per year, assuming it receives an adequate supply of liquefied natural gas. Their connection to the existing gas infrastructure, and where they will be moored, make these projects complex.
Usage fee: 150 – 180 thousand d. Per day
Germany has announced that it is considering using the three vessels it leased at ports in the northwest of the country, where LNG gas-fired terminals will be built in the future. Industry sources have estimated that only some of the existing ships could actually be used in northern Europe, because the gasification process in some of them requires seawater at a temperature higher than ten degrees.
The British newspaper reported that the lease prices of the few ships available from the world inventory jumped from $ 150,000 to $ 180,000 per day of use following the war in Ukraine.
Construction of new ships, even if it begins now, can only be completed in 2027, according to industry sources. The ships that will now start operating in Europe will be deducted from projects in countries such as Brazil, Sri Lanka and Panama, which have so far relied on them in an attempt to reduce the burning of other, more polluting fossil fuels. “At current prices they would prefer to burn coal,” an energy expert told the newspaper.