Greenpeace Attempts to Block FSRU Arriving in France

Greenpeace protestors
Greenpeace protestors tagging the arriving FSRU (© Jean Nicholas Guillo photo courtesy of Greenpeace)

Published Sep 18, 2023 1:55 PM by The Maritime Executive

Protestors from the environmentalist group Greenpeace attempted to block the arrival of the first LNG FSRU vessel in the northern French port of Le Harve. The LNG import terminal project has been in the planning stages for more than a year but drew out the protestors as the vessel, the Cape Ann with a capacity for 145,130 cubic meters of liquid gas arrived at Le Harve to begin a five-year contract.

Calling the vessel, a “symbol of an absurd policy,” the Greenpeace protestors were out in their inflatable boats as well as their canoes and kayaks on Monday morning at the vessel arrived at the port. Over the weekend as news spread of the vessel impeding arrival other protestors were out to call attention to the project.

“The only beneficiaries of the LNG gas infrastructure in Le Harve are TotalEnergies,” said Greenpeace. They contend the new infrastructure project was exempted from a “real” environment study and will strengthen Frace’s dependence on fossil gas for several years.

The LNG tanker Cape Ann is one of the vessels TotalEnergies has on charter from Hoegh LNG. Built in 2010, the 80,000 dwt vessel has a capacity for 145,130 cubic meters of liquid gas. She has been positioned in Tianjin, China for the last decade having become in 2013 the first floating storage and regasification unit in China. TotalEnergies announced the plan to bring her to France in the summer of 2022 and in February of this year reported they had received strong interest from other companies that wanted to share the output from the vessel.


Cape Ann docked today for a five-year assignment as an FSRU in Le Harve (© Denis Meyer / Greenpeace)


Unable to stop the vessel, the Greenpeace protestors painted the words “Gas Kills” on the hull of the vessel as it was maneuvering into the port. Other protestors displayed banners saying “Total shale dealer,” “Macron shale dealer” and End Fossil Crimes.

According to Greenpeace, the gas intended to supply the terminal comes large from U.S. shale gas. They note this is in contradiction to France’s policy that bails fracking to produce shale gas. 

TotalEnergies since the planning stage had indicated partners would be able to use up to half the capacity of the FSRU. The project was started earlier in 2022 when Western countries highlighted the danger of losing gas imports from Russia.

Greenpeace cites the strong LNG surplus France ended the 2022 season with saying that Facne has so much gas stockpiled it could begin exporting to its European neighbors. They claim the terminal will only serve the financial interests of TotalEnergies. Instead of being a replacement for Russian gas, Greenpeace contends the facility is there to serve TotalEnergies' financial interests and growth strategy. They argue that France already has the capacity to receive the necessary quantities of gas without the FSRU.

Despite their effort, the Cape Ann docked in Le Harve. She was arriving from Gibraltar.