German shipowners have expressed doubts about the feasibility of Federal Economics Minister Robert Habeck’s (Greens) plans to quickly import liquefied natural gas (LNG) as a replacement for Russian natural gas. Will Habeck’s plan falter?

According to the plans of Economics Minister Robert Habeck, LNG gas is intended to reduce dependence on Russian natural gas. However, shipowners warn that Vice Chancellor Robert Habeck’s plans could fail due to the capacity of the ships.

“There are no gas tankers in the German merchant fleet that can transport LNG over long distances,” said the managing director of the German Shipowners’ Association, Martin Kröger, to the “Bild” newspaper on Wednesday. “There are almost 500 LNG tankers available worldwide, however, demand from other regions of the world is high.”

The energy economist Andreas Fischer from the Institute of German Economics in Cologne told the “Bild” newspaper: “The liquid gas quantities must be available on the world market and appropriate tankers are needed, most of which are already tied to long-term contracts.” In addition, “only one of the three planned terminals approved so far”. The Federal Ministry of Economics told “Bild” that “the frequency and number of tankers that transport the LNG gas to the sites cannot currently be quantified”.

The parliamentary manager of the Union faction in the Bundestag, Thorsten Frei (CDU), told the newspaper that Habeck’s LNG strategy had “failed”. In the foreseeable future, it will not be able to replace the amount of gas that we will need in the coming winter. That’s why we have to do everything we can to fill up the gas storage tanks quickly.” Frei therefore calls for coal-fired power plants to be started up again immediately in order to pump all the available gas quantities into the storage tanks.

Germany wants to become independent of Russian gas imports as quickly as possible with the help of liquefied natural gas (LNG). There are currently growing fears of an escalating gas crisis in the coming months.

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