Rügen beach promenade
Photo: ANNEGRET HILSE / REUTERS
The Federal Ministry of Economics wants to check the books of Deutsche ReGas. The company is to operate a planned liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal off Rügen, but is facing allegations from the local municipality of Binz.
There are indications of a "non-transparent financing background" for the terminal, it says. ReGas rejects the allegations as baseless and contrived and speaks of a discrediting campaign.
Nevertheless, the responsible Ministry of Economics apparently wants to play it safe. The federal government will examine the "suitability and reliability of the possible contractual partner" Deutsche ReGas, said State Secretary for Economic Affairs Philipp Nimmermann in response to a minor question from CDU member of the Bundestag Matthias Hauer.
This includes "to the extent legally possible and necessary, the examination of financial capacity and the origin of the funds". It must be ensured "that the financing of the energy infrastructure is based on sustainable financing," Nimmermann continues.
Hauer criticizes German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in the matter. The German government has so far been completely unaware of where the immense financial resources of the company Deutsche ReGas for the expansion of the LNG infrastructure came from, he claims. "It is irresponsible that the chancellor makes the project a top priority, but does not want to clarify the open questions about financing until later."
Deutsche Regas says that its investments of around one hundred million euros to date have come from the sale of shares to "interested investors".
These shareholders as well as the origin of the funds had been checked by the account-holding banks. In addition, all detailed information on the financing of Deutsche Regas had long since been communicated to the competent authorities.
The company's shareholders include Macquarie, one of the world's largest infrastructure investors, and the Dutch shipping company Anthony Veder Shipping. It is also providing shuttle ships for the existing LNG terminal in Lubmin, Western Pomerania, which Deutsche Regas intends to relocate to Rügen.
In addition, the company works closely with Total Energies; among other things, the French energy company has parked the regasification vessel for Lubmin. All these large companies are likely to have demanded a precise insight into Deutsche Regas' business structures.
According to the plans of the federal government, two floating LNG terminals with an annual capacity of ten billion cubic meters of gas are to be stationed off the coast of Rügen. The aim is for the terminal to be available for supply at the beginning of 2024.
The dispute over Rügen's coast is now also occupying the Munich 1 Regional Court. A lawsuit filed by Deutsche ReGas is being heard there. The company is suing for an omission from certain statements made by the municipality of Binz – such as the allegation that the company receives money from the Cayman Islands.