Working at full speed
for security of supply:
the Wilhelms­haven
pipeline link (WAL)

It’s finished! A little more than nine months after the start of the project, the Wilhelmshaven pipeline link, or WAL, is about to go into operation. First, a floating LNG terminal – the so-called Floating Storage and Regasification Unit (FSRU) – will be connected to the WAL pipeline. This will be followed by another FSRU in autumn 2023. The pipeline will thus initially ship 50 terawatt hours (TWh) of gas per year, and from the end of 2023 as much as 100 TWh. This corresponds to about 10 % and 20 % of the volumes we previously imported from Russia, and thus to the annual consumption of around five million households. Rapidly diversifying away from Russian natural gas supplies while maintaining security of supply in Germany and Europe is a complicated puzzle, to which we have now added another piece. On top of this, the WAL pipeline is also making a contribution to the energy transition because it is H2-ready and will also be able to transport hydrogen in the future.

In this issue of the OGE Policy Brief, we would like to introduce you to the WAL pipeline in more detail, highlight important milestones of the project and provide an outlook on future developments. After all, OGE will continue to work on advancing the transformation of our energy system even after this pipeline has gone into oeperation.

Length of one pipe: 18 m
Weight: 9 t
Diameter: 1,000 mm

Attack on Ukraine creates new reality

When the Russian war of aggression on Ukraine began on 24 February 2022, one thing very quickly became clear in Central Europe: This Russia will no longer be a reliable partner. This realisation was followed by another truth: Germany’s dependence on Russian energy was too great, and the country’s energy supply, especially with natural gas, needed to be broadened rapidly. One alternative can be liquified natural gas (LNG), which can be imported by ship from many parts of the world. Yet at the beginning of 2022, Germany did not have the necessary infrastructure to import LNG.

From early March, therefore, possibilities for importing LNG were explored at various locations, and the focus quickly fell on Wilhelmshaven. Germany’s only deep-sea port offers the best conditions for landing LNG via FSRUs, which are floating LNG terminals. In order to be able to subsequently distribute the gas in Germany, a natural gas pipeline had to be built from the coast to the interior to deliver the gas to industrial customers and homes across Germany. Thus the WAL pipeline was born, and project delivery started in mid-March.

Machines involved in
construction (approx.):
People involved in
construction (approx.):

The route of the WAL at a glance

The WAL pipeline spans a length of 26 kilometres from Voslapper Groden in the north of Wilhelmshaven, through the districts of Friesland and Wittmund, to Etzel, where it ties into the German natural gas grid. What is special about the pipeline, however, is above all the speed with which the pipeline was planned, constructed and put into operation. OGE took up the challenge and built the WAL pipeline in just nine months instead of several years – a new speed for Germany that should serve as a model for many other projects to secure our energy supply and make the climate goals achievable. Thanks to the tireless work of politicians, authorities and companies working in unison, the WAL pipeline has turned out to be a truly encouraging project in difficult times.

The WAL: the most important milestones, facts and figures

The development of the WAL pipeline involved two phases: First, the project went through a planning and approval phase in spring and summer, followed by the actual construction phase in the autumn months. Naturally, there are many individual steps to be tackled in a project like this, for example the preparation of the planning approval documents or the procurement of all necessary materials.

Total pipeline
material used:
1,500 pipes
13,500 t total weight

The WAL over time:

Started in March, commissioned in December



Project start
Basic design
Detailed design
Acquisition of rights
Explosive ordnance survey
and archaeology
Authority engineering and
public participation



Planning approval procedure


Approval for early
start of construction
Pre-construction measures


Construction of a GPRM station
First pipe delivery


Start of construction
Pipeline construction


Recultivation, residual work




Final commissioning
Gassing up

WAL only possible thanks to the efforts of many

In addition to the high demands in terms of planning and materials, one thing was clear from the very beginning: close cooperation between politics, authorities, local citizens and companies was essential for successful project delivery. Without the many people who supported, guided and promoted the WAL project, it would not have worked, and we as OGE would like to thank all federal and state governments as well as the authorities involved, the numerous employees of our partner companies, the local residents and landowners who understood the urgency of this project, and of course all OGE colleagues. Together they have made this project a success.

Approx. 230.000 t of sand used
for 23 km of construction

Construction complete – now what?

At the beginning of this Policy Brief, we likened the WAL pipeline to a piece in a puzzle that had to be put together to gain independence from Russia and make our energy supply more secure. That is the contribution that this pipeline is making as of now. By definition, however, a piece of the puzzle is just one of many, and OGE wants to make further contributions. That is why we will continue to work on new projects in the coming years, always focussing on two aspects:

1. In the short term, securing our natural gas supply is crucial.

In 2023, we will extend the WAL pipeline by another two kilometres to connect another FSRU on the Frisian North Sea coast. This will increase the pipeline’s annual capacity from five to ten billion cubic metres of natural gas per year.

2. To achieve our climate targets, we need to ramp up hydrogen – now.

We need to gradually replace conventional energy sources with green ones. In the field of molecule-based energy carriers, hydrogen will be the key, so to embed hydrogen in our energy mix, OGE aims to build a hydrogen network. Planning for this is in full swing, for example as part of our H2erkules and GetH2 projects, and over the next few years existing natural gas pipelines will be converted to hydrogen, while new ones designed especially for hydrogen will also be built. Yet, what is still lacking is a political framework for hydrogen. This framework needs to be developed quickly in the coming months so that the hydrogen ramp-up can begin and we can achieve the goals set for 2030. Only with quick decision-making can we achieve the hydrogen ramp-up in time.

We are confident that we can build on the success of the Wilhelmshaven pipeline link and contribute further important pieces of the puzzle for a secure, climate-neutral energy system. You can count on us, today and in the energy mix of the future!

One team.
One WAL.