German environmental group sues private LNG terminal in Lubmin

(Reuters) - A German environmental group on Monday said it had filed a lawsuit against a privately operated LNG terminal on the Baltic coast, saying it causes noise pollution and is too small to be exempted from environmental permits.

Germany is building up its LNG import capacity as it looks to end its reliance on piped Russian gas after Russia's invasion of Ukraine last year.

Deutsche ReGas chartered the Neptune LNG tanker from TotalEnergies to serve as a floating storage regasification unit (FSRU) and the terminal in Lubmin was officially inaugurated by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in January.

Deutsche Umwelthilfe (DUH) said it had filed a lawsuit with the Federal Administrative Court demanding operator Deutsche ReGas revoke its terminal operation license, saying the permit had significant shortcomings.

"Neither the shuttle traffic (used to access the Neptune), nor the resulting environmental impact on the sensitive Greifswalder Bodden have been subject to environmental permits," DUH said in a statement, adding that the project's noise pollution values were different than the companies' estimates during the approval process.

Deutsche ReGas was not immediately available for comment on the lawsuit.

DUH said the terminal's contribution to Germany's energy supply security was also marginal, citing the LNG volume imported through the terminal in the first half of the year, which was far below the company's estimate for the project's capacity.

Deutsche ReGas imported the equivalent of 7 terawatt hours in the first half of 2023, which would only correspond to around 0.7 billion cubic meters per year, DUH said.

The company has estimated the project's annual capacity at 5.2 bcm.

"What is currently happening in Lubmin and what has been approved are two different things," DUH Managing Director Sascha Mueller-Kraenner said in a statement.

The Economy Ministry was not immediately available for comment.

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