Successful energy transition going hand in hand

06.02.2023 | Press release of Salzgitter AG

  • Powerful logistics and a high-performance infrastructure for secure energy supplies in Germany: Thousands of pipes to connect the Brunsbüttel LNG terminal to Germany’s network
  • DB Cargo delivers Mannesmann steel pipes from Salzgitter AG
  • Network operator Gasunie can build a sustainable infrastructure

Germany is pushing ahead at full speed to transition and transform its energy supply. Partners in industry, infrastructure and logistics are working hand in hand to achieve this goal in record time. Working together with Salzgitter AG subsidiary Mannesmann Grossrohr GmbH, DB Cargo is keeping Gasunie Deutschland supplied with the pipes it needs to connect the Brunsbüttel LNG import terminal to the combined north west Europe gas network. Almost 3,000 pipes have been delivered in a matter of a few weeks by environmentally friendly rail. The new pipeline connection is also suitable for the transport of hydrogen. The Brunsbüttel port at the mouth of the river Elbe is developing into a hub for future-proof and sustainable energy supplies. The symbolic final wagon load was celebrated accordingly by policy makers, business and industry representatives.
The responsibility for building the around 55 kilometer energy pipeline lies with network operator Gasunie Deutschland. The 80 centimeter diameter pipes brought in by rail are each 18 meters long and weigh around 5 tonnes. The pipeline is expected to be operational in time for the start of next winter, ready to transport the gas flowing from the floating LNG terminal to where consumers need it most. The entire infrastructure is “H2-ready” – meaning that prospectively, green hydrogen can be landed here and efficiently delivered to the interior of the country by pipeline. To support logistics projects, the Brunsbüttel Elbe port offers a high-performance rail freight link. DB Cargo serves the port from its Itzehoe operations center.
Dr. Volker Wissing, Federal Minister for Digital and Transport: “Few projects illustrate as clearly as Brunsbüttel the new pace we are setting here in Germany. Thanks to the perfect interaction between logistics, the energy industry and politicians, in a minimum of time the preconditions have been put in place for a terminal that will contribute substantially to safeguarding our independence from Russian energy imports. And not only that: The newly created terminal and pipeline infrastructure at the port of Brunsbüttel can be used not just for importing and distributing LNG. In the long term it can also handle climate-neutrally produced hydrogen. We are already ensuring here and now that transport applications and needs are taken into account in designing our national distribution infrastructure.”
Tobias Goldschmidt, Minister for Energy Transformation, Climate Protection, Environment and Nature for the state of Schleswig-Holstein: “The last 12 months or so here in Brunsbüttel have been a prime example of how good teamwork can drive infrastructure planning and construction forward. With Brunsbüttel’s forthcoming connection to our nationwide gas network, Schleswig-Holstein is once again demonstrating its importance as a guarantor of German energy supply security. As a location, Brunsbüttel has what it takes to become an important hub for green energy in Europe. We now need to exploit every opportunity to achieve this. The pipes that have been supplied are already suitable for the transportation of green hydrogen, and were delivered by environmentally-friendly rail. This is excellent, because we need to move a lot more traffic onto the railways in order to reduce the exorbitant harm that continues to be inflicted on the climate by the transport sector.”
Dr. Sigrid Nikutta, DB Director of Rail Freight: “Every chain is only as strong as its individual links. That applies to supply chains as well as to the energy transformation in Germany. Hand in hand we are turning a challenge into an opportunity! Rail freight has a relevant role to play in logistics as a whole. Through our DB Cargo service we have already delivered thousands of large-diameter pipes to the LNG terminal in Wilhelmshaven and now in Brunsbüttel, rapidly and on schedule. Thanks are due to innovative customers such as Salzgitter AG for this joint project that is pointing the way to the future.”
Jens Schumann, CEO of Gasunie Deutschland: “As network operator, Gasunie is synonymous with security of supply in Germany and in Europe – particularly at this time when the risk of gas shortages has yet to be eliminated. We can only play our part provided we have strong partners whom we can depend on."
Dr. Sebastian Bross, Executive Board member, Salzgitter AG: “The LNG terminals and connecting pipelines are of elementary importance for Germany’s future energy supplies. With our steel and tube products, the Salzgitter Group is making an important contribution to the establishment of a high-performance infrastructure. This project is a prominent example, and it shows the importance of a domestic industrial base in enabling our national economy to function.”
Frank Schnabel, CEO of Brunsbüttel Ports GmbH: “With the creation of an LNG import infrastructure at the Brunsbüttel port and industrial center, we are taking a significant step into the future. The construction of a connecting pipeline for LNG and prospectively also for green hydrogen represents another vital milestone. It is once again clear that the port in Brunsbüttel with its trimodal connections - including a high-performance rail link - has an elementary contribution to make to Germany’s energy supply security and to the energy transformation. As an energy hub of national importance, it is therefore hugely important that we continue to develop the rail link to this location in order to drive the transfer of traffic from road to rail forward.”