December 17, 2018 / 7:17 AM / 2 months ago

Uniper intensifies LNG plans with Japan's Mitsui OSK

A logo of German energy utility company Uniper SE is pictured in the company's headquarter in Duesseldorf, Germany, March 8, 2018. REUTERS/Thilo Schmuelgen

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Energy group Uniper on Monday entered agreements with Japanese shipping group Mitsui OSK Lines to handle potential deliveries of liquefied natural (LNG) gas into Germany.

Discussions about LNG have flared up recently as the German government wants to diversify away from pipeline gas arriving from Russia, Norway and the Netherlands. Suppliers, most notably Qatar and the United States, have expressed interest.

In its efforts, Uniper is banking on Wilhelmshaven - which is close to its storage facilities - as the site for a German LNG terminal and has previously said that it was in talks with interested parties to build a floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU).

Uniper said on Monday that Mitsui intended to own, operate and fund the FSRU, which has a planned send-out capacity of 10 billion cubic meters per year and LNG storage capacity of 263,000 cubic meters.

The unit could be in operation as early as the second half of 2022, Uniper said.

“We are glad that we were able to get such an experienced partner as Mitsui OSK Lines on board for the development of Germany’s first LNG terminal,” Uniper board member Keith Martin said in a statement.

Uniper said it also entered into a binding transportation agreement with Mitsui, under which the group will provide Uniper with 180,000 cubic meters of LNG shipping capacity from December 2020.

It will use the capacity partly to optimize LNG volumes from Freeport in the United States, the company said.

(Corrects to remove reference to Hungarian MOL Group)

Reporting by Christoph Steitz; editing by Maria Sheahan

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