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First LNG vessel arrives at new German Mukran terminal

FRANKFURT, Feb 24 (Reuters) - The first vessel carrying liquefied natural gas (LNG) for Germany's Baltic Sea terminal of Mukran arrived on Saturday for a test operation as the country steps up its quest to replace Russian pipeline gas.

Private company Deutsche ReGas said that Energos Power, a floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU), had moored at the terminal on Ruegen island, having received approval from local authorities.

Germany has intensified its quest to increase LNG capacity for regasification on its shores, as European countries seek to reduce their heavy reliance on Russian gas following Moscow's invasion of Ukraine.

The tests will entail pilot operations and later the commissioning of all equipment.

The FSRU, formerly Transgas Power before a change of ownership, had received its LNG cargo, originally from the Norwegian Snohvit gas field, from another LNG tanker in France, ReGas said in a statement.

"We will feed gas from Mukran into the German long-distance pipeline network in what remains of the winter," said supervisory board member Stephan Knabe, adding the move would support supply security in eastern Germany and south eastern European countries.

Germany already has LNG terminals at Wilhelmshaven and Brunsbuettel on the North Sea and at Lubmin on the Baltic Sea coast, while another one, the Elbe river port of Stade, also expects its first FSRU to arrive in coming weeks.

The Energos Power will be complemented by a second ship, the Neptune, which is currently active at Lubmin, from the spring of 2024 onwards, ReGas said.

Once the Neptune has moved to Ruegen, a complicated shuttle service to account for shallow water near Lubmin, can be abandoned. (Reporting by Andreas Rinke and Vera Eckert, editing by Clelia Oziel)

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