Environmental aid sees signs: is the preparatory work for LNG terminals beginning despite the veto?

Environmental aid sees signs
Will the preparatory work for LNG terminals begin despite the veto?

The approval procedures for the LNG terminals east of Rügen are still ongoing. It is unclear whether the systems will be needed at all. But the German environmental aid sees signs of preparatory work. Ship movements therefore indicate that test drilling is being carried out.

Despite the veto by Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania’s Prime Minister Manuela Schwesig, preliminary work for further LNG terminals east of Rügen has apparently begun, according to the German Environmental Aid. Ship movements in the sea area in question indicated that a scavenging dredger had started work and that test drilling could also be carried out.

“The pattern repeats itself. This is also how the North Sea Terminal off Wilhelmshaven was built,” said Constantin Zerger, Head of Energy and Climate Protection at Deutsche Umwelthilfe. During the course of the day, the ship’s movements of the “Swarog” dredger on the “JB119” construction platform off the south-eastern tip of Rügen were registered and also recorded in pictures.

As a precaution, environmental aid lodged an objection with the Stralsund Mining Authority, but received no reply by the evening. Zerger pointed out that “any dredging work at the present time was during the herring spawning season and the bird migration period”. From a nature conservation and legal point of view, the approval of an early start of construction or even just preparatory work can be ruled out.

Schwesig and Backhaus express concerns

State Environment Minister Till Backhaus also agreed. The approval process is ongoing, and the deadline for objections to the project only expired on Friday, Backhaus said in the evening. Premature measures are not known to him and are not indicated. Like Schwesig, Backhaus also expressed concerns about the planned location for two more liquid gas terminals that the energy company RWE wants to build on behalf of the federal government just a few kilometers from the seaside resorts of Binz and Sellin. Local politicians and tourism associations are also strictly against it. RWE could not be reached for comment that evening.

It was only on Friday that Prime Minister Schwesig underpinned her criticism of the federal government’s previous plans for two liquefied natural gas terminals off Rügen and called for alternatives. “For example, that you go out very, very far where it doesn’t bother anyone at all – and then maybe build a longer line,” said Schwesig on NDR television.

Are more LNG terminals necessary at all?

But the federal government must first answer the question of whether additional terminals off Rügen are still necessary. The environmental associations Bund, Nabu and WWF had already made it clear that they saw no need for further LNG terminals off the coast of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. They warned against the construction of the terminals before Rügen, an associated further gas pipeline through the Greifswalder Bodden and sea routes through the Baltic Sea. Both the construction and the many years of operation threatened sensitive and protected habitats.

According to current plans, two floating liquefied natural gas terminals are to be installed in the Baltic Sea off Sellin. The liquid gas delivered by tankers is to be converted back into gas there and transported by pipeline to Lubmin on the mainland. As a former landing point for Russian natural gas from the Nord Stream 1 Baltic Sea pipeline, Lubmin is already connected to the European distribution network. Deutsche Regas has been operating an LNG terminal there since mid-January.

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