May 20, 2019 / 4:31 PM / a month ago

Uniper tests interest in its German LNG import project, seeks partner

LONDON, May 20 (Reuters) - Germany’s Uniper started on Monday to test the interest of gas companies in using its proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in Germany and said it was also seeking a partner in the company operating the terminal.

Uniper launched a so-called open season for the 10 billion cubic metres of regasification capacity (7.25 million tonnes of LNG) at the proposed floating Wilhelmshaven terminal, giving companies until July 19 to conclude non-binding agreements.

The open season comes after Uniper signed such a preliminary agreement with Exxon Mobil for a “substantial share” of the regasification capacity.

“It is the intention of the open season to check market demand and to offer regasification capacity. The aim is to have binding commitments for the entire capacity at the end of the process,” Uniper said in emailed comments.

When asked whether Uniper itself, which trades LNG and has LNG offtake commitments from U.S. producers, would be interested in capacity, the company said: “Yes, Uniper is also interested”.

The Wilhelmshaven project is one of three proposed LNG receiving terminals which have progressed quickly since last year when U.S. President Donald Trump bristled at Germany’s Russian pipeline gas imports and following a visit from energy officials from Qatar, the world’s largest LNG exporter.

Uniper has previously agreed that Japan’s Mitsui OSK Lines will provide a Floating Storage and Regasification Unit (FSRU) to the deepwater port. An FSRU is a vessel and as such a cheaper and quicker way of developing an import project.

Uniper has always said it would be a facilitator of the project and on Monday said it was talking to companies that want to buy a majority share in the terminal operator. (Reporting by Sabina Zawadzki; Editing by Mark Potter)

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