12 Dec 2022
Friedeburg, Essen

Press release

Final weld marks completion of WAL pipeline link: System now ready to take LNG – and in future also hydrogen

  • WAL link completed reliably and safely in record time
  • WAL will help feed regasified LNG from Wilhelmshaven into the German gas grid and contribute to Germany's energy supply
  • H2-ready pipeline is a crucial cornerstone for Germany’s future hydrogen economy 

Today saw the completion of the final weld of the Wilhelmshaven pipeline link (WAL) in the community of Friedeburg in East Frisia. The so-called "golden weld" connects the WAL pipeline with the NETRA pipeline system. The WAL tie-in into the German gas transmission network has thus been completed, and the pipeline is ready to ship regasified LNG from Wilhelmshaven to consumers across Germany.

From left: Thomas Hüwener (Member of the Management Board of OGE), Franz-Josef Kissing (Project Manager WAL, OGE), Olaf Lies (Minister for Economic Affairs, Construction, Transport and Digitalisation of the State of Lower Saxony), Anka Dobslaw (State Secretary in the Lower Saxony Ministry for the Environment, Energy and Climate Protection), Christoph Köhler (Commercial Project Manager WAL, OGE), Malte Tammeus (Head of Department, Wittmund District) and Helfried Goetz (Mayor of Friedeburg)

Lower Saxony's Economics Minister Olaf Lies put the event into context: 
"Completing the WAL pipeline and connecting it to the gas transmission network in such a short time is an achievement best summarised by a headline in a major German business magazine in mid-November which read: Germany needs more Wilhelmshaven. This is the much-described new German speed in permitting, planning and building infrastructure that must be the blueprint for future projects and especially for the transformation of our economy and the energy transition."

Anka Dobslaw, State Secretary in Lower Saxony's Ministry of the Environment said: "In the short term, WAL will help cover the country’s immediate energy needs, but what is even more important is that it is already laying the foundation for a long-term and sustainable transformation of the energy system, because the pipes installed have been certified for hydrogen and thus make an important contribution to Germany eventually becoming independent of fossil fuels. So in this respect, the WAL pipeline link is also the starting point for the hydrogen economy – from Lower Saxony for the whole of Germany."

"OGE has planned and built the WAL pipeline in just nine months instead of the usual eight years. It is an important piece in the puzzle to become more independent of Russian natural gas and to secure the supply for industry and households with LNG today and hydrogen in the future. The challenge of ensuring the quality at the high speed, ten times faster than usual, was managed in a joint effort, and it was only achieved thanks to the excellent collaboration between politicians, authorities, residents and partner companies," said Dr Thomas Hüwener, member of the OGE board of management.

On behalf of the German government, OGE has built the 26 km WAL pipeline between Wilhelmshaven and Etzel to feed regasified LNG into the gas transmission system .

The remaining work on site and at the gas metering and pressure regulating stations at either end of the pipeline is scheduled to be completed by mid-December. The WAL pipeline will be ready for commissioning and the transportation of natural gas when the first Floating Storage & Regasification Unit (FSRU) reaches the completed LNG terminal in Wilhelmshaven. Final recultivation measures will follow from 2023.

 Further information on the WAL can be found at  wilhelmshaven-pipeline-link | OGE