LBG or LNG? Same product, or just same molecule?


In 2021 Europe consumed 571 billion cubic metres (bcm) of gas, around 2.7 times as much as it produced (210 bcm). Germany even imported 95% of its natural gas. With the onset and continuation of the Russian-Ukrainian war in 2022, a re-think of our energy security is taking place in Europe. The situation has shown to many countries how dependent they are on others and geopolitical events.

As a result, there is a growing desire among populations and national governments to break dependencies on other countries, diversify the energy mix, and move technologies forward in order to achieve the energy transition.

Becoming independent of Russian gas and at the same time not jeopardising the achievement of climate targets is a balancing act very much on the agenda of European politicians like Robert Habeck, Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection of the Federal Republic of Germany. The solution, it is felt, is LNG; as much as 50 bcm of LNG is to be imported anually from the US to Germany in the future, at one of the newly built terminals in Wilhelmshaven and Brunsbüttel. This corresponds to around one third of Russian imports to the EU.

Critics complain that this shifts dependency from Russia to the US, however, replacing suppliers at LNG terminals is easier than replacing suppliers from static pipelines in crises. Naturally, a certain sense of dependency always remains.

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