Schwerin, Germany (dpa) - Preliminary work has begun for the construction of two liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals to the east of the German island of Rügen in the Baltic Sea, energy company RWE said on Sunday, despite local political opposition.
A spokesman for the Essen-based company described the work as "only exploratory" in response to a question from dpa. Permission had been issued by the Baltic Sea Waterways and Shipping Office, he said.
The work is being carried out as part of a contract launched by the Germany government to end the country's previously heavy dependence on Russian natural gas delivered directly by pipeline along the Baltic Sea floor.
Two vessels were currently carrying out the exploratory work, the spokesman said. "It is usual with offshore projects that a careful inspection of the seafloor and underground is conducted," he said. This included finding munitions dating back to World War II, he said.
The environmental organization Deutsche Umwelthilfe has criticised the work as causing concern in Rügen's popular seaside resorts at the construction of tow large terminals just a few kilometres from the beaches.
The state government of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern in which the region lies has also come out against the project. According to state Environment Minister Till Backhaus, the procedure to issue permits is still proceeding.
Construction work is not currently permitted, as the herring spawning season is under way.
State Premier Manuela Schwesig has repeatedly expressed opposition to terminals close to Rügen and called on the federal government to find an alternative.
## Internet links - [Movements of Swarog dredger](http://dpaq.de/BPBzq)
## Locations - [Sellin](Sellin, Germany) - [Lubmin](Lubmin, Germany)