It is therefore obvious that the Czech Republic will increasingly rely on liquefied gas. “The disadvantage of this method of transportation is that a terminal needs to be built for it,” said Oldřich Sklenář, an energy expert of the Association for International Issues. This is because the gas must be subcooled to minus 162 degrees Celsius, which liquefies and its volume decreases 600 times. The liquid is then pumped into special tankers and transported by sea to its destination.
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However, gas liquefaction is energy-intensive. For a long time, it was therefore the case that LNG was more expensive than gas transported by pipelines. “However, the situation is changing due to restrictions on supplies from Russia. “Suddenly, LNG can compete in price with the gas that flows through gas pipelines,” Sklenář added.
On the other hand, however, equipment must be available that can accept the liquefied raw material and return it to a gaseous state. For example, Lithuania already put its terminal into operation in 2014, i.e. at a time when it did not make much sense to other countries. “Therefore, Lithuania’s starting position is better today,” the expert specified.
However, the construction of such a terminal takes about five years, and many countries do not have that much time due to uncertain supplies from Russia. German energy companies, for example, rented three floating terminals for this reason. These are usually converted giant tankers. “It’s easier, for example, because of the permitting process and the like. They are permanently in ports and connected to gas pipelines,” Sklenář described.
Building a floating terminal is also cheaper. It is estimated that the acquisition cost is fifty to sixty percent of a terminal built on land. Over time, however, the operating costs balance out. In addition, floating terminals require deep harbors. Today they can be seen, for example, in the Netherlands, Spain, France or Great Britain.
The Czechia secured the capacities of a floating terminal in the Netherlands. “Thanks to our expertise, we obtained both the capacity in the terminal in Eemshaven and the necessary transport routes. In this way, we are purposefully continuing our strategy to get rid of our energy dependence on Russia,” explained the head of the energy company ČEZ, Daniel Beneš.
The terminal in the north of the Netherlands will consist of two storage units and regasification, with the vessels Exmar S188 and Golar Igloo. From them, the raw material is then pumped into gas pipelines and reaches the Czech Republic this way.
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In addition, the Czech government has restarted negotiations on the possible supply of liquefied gas from Poland, which should flow through the Stork II gas pipeline. Sklenář estimates that if the negotiations reach a successful conclusion, it will take about four years before the gas starts flowing through this pipe.
Meanwhile, the Czechia is feverishly stocking up for the winter. The Minister of Industry and Trade Jozef Síkela (for STAN) announced this week that storage tanks in the Czech Republic are 80 percent full. At the same time, their capacity should cover a third of the Czech Republic’s consumption. Another third is the contracted capacity of the floating terminal in the Netherlands.
However, it is possible that this capacity would last a little longer. The glazier pointed out that the Czechs had started saving. Daily gas consumption decreased by a fifth in the first months of this year.