Italian energy company Snam will start operating a floating terminal for liquefied natural gas at the port of Piombino in Tuscany at the end of May.
Named Golar Tundra, the floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU) is 292.5 metres long, 43.4 metres wide and 55 metres high, and is equipped with four tanks for storing 170,000 cubic metres of LNG. It has a continuous regasification capacity of 5 billion cubic metres (bcm) per year.
The Piombino terminal will process around 2 billion bcm of gas this year, rising to full capacity next year, Snam chief executive officer Stefano Venier said at a press conference to mark the arrival of the first LNG tanker in Piombino.
Golar Tundra was purchased last year by Snam’s unit FSRU Italia for US$350 million from Bermuda-based LNG shipper Golar.
On May 5, the LNG carrier Maran Gas Kalymnos, carrying an Eni cargo of 170,000 cubic metres of LNG, arrived at Piombino from Damietta in Egypt.
"The arrival of the first load of gas, which will allow us to carry out the plant’s testing and fine-tuning operations, is another important step in equipping the country with an infrastructure that is fundamental to the security and diversification of supplies," says Venier.
The LNG carrier was moored at the Golar Tundra, and will transfer the gas through hoses to the FSRU's tanks, which are to be returned to a gaseous state and fed into the national distribution network.
Since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, LNG has assumed an increasingly important role in Italy. Last year, imported LNG accounted for 18.8% of the gas injected into the national grid, while from the beginning of 2023, it accounted for 24.3%.
There are already three regasification plants in Italy, the first of which is owned by Snam and has been in operation since the early 1970s, at Panigaglia in the province of La Spezia. It has a regasification capacity of 3.5 bcm per year.
Off the coast of Livorno is OLT, which has Snam and Igneo Infrastructure Partners as shareholders, with a regasification capacity of 3.7 bcm per year, a capacity that may increase to around 5 bcm from 2024 onwards.
The largest, the Rovigo LNG terminal in Porto Viro, owned by ExxonMobil, Qatar Energy and Snam, has a regasification capacity of 9 bcm per year.
Snam is scheduled to commission another floating regasifier, the BW Singapore, at the end of 2024. It will be moored on an offshore platform off Ravenna with a regasification capacity of 5 bcm per year.