[netcdf-java] How to modify variable in existing netcdf4 file?

A am trying to use the Java NetCDF library to modify the data of a variable
in an existing NetCDF4 file.

I use the 5.4.1 version of the Java library
I have version 4.7.4_2 of the netcdf C-library installed and it works

The problem I get is that when opening the existing file for writing, a NPE
is thrown.

My code looks something like this...

NetcdfFormatWriter.Builder builder =
NetcdfFormatWriter writer = builder.build();

But when .build() is called an exception is thrown

Exception in thread "main" java.lang.NullPointerException
        at ucar.nc2.NetcdfFiles.canonicalizeUriString(NetcdfFiles.java:359)
        at ucar.nc2.jni.netcdf.Nc4Iosp._open(Nc4Iosp.java:253)
        at ucar.nc2.jni.netcdf.Nc4Iosp.openForWriting(Nc4Iosp.java:239)
        at ucar.nc2.write.NetcdfFormatWriter.<init>(NetcdfFormatWriter.java:329)
        at ucar.nc2.write.NetcdfFormatWriter.<init>(NetcdfFormatWriter.java:49)

Looking at the code in the class Nc4Iosp.java

private void _open(RandomAccessFile raf, NetcdfFile ncfile, boolean
readOnly) throws IOException {
String location = NetcdfFiles.canonicalizeUriString(ncfile.getLocation());
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