Albania has shown interest to start importing US LNG in order to feed a power plant, according to the country’s Prime Minister Edi Rama.
He said in a social media post on Friday the country signed a memorandum of understanding with US energy giant ExxonMobil but also floating LNG player Excelerate Energy.
Announcing the deal, Rama said it marks a “fantastic development” for the Albanian energy sector and a “significant success” for Albania-US relations.
Moreover, the project would involve converting Albania’s 98 MW Vlora thermal power plant to LNG, but also the construction of a regasification terminal, according to Rama.
He added that this cooperation would lead to the city of Vlora (Vlorë), situated along the Albanian Adriatic Sea coast, becoming a “regional LNG hub.”
Excelerate to complete pre-feasibility study this year, LNG imports could start in 2023
Excelerate said in a separate statement late Friday it would conduct a feasibility study for the potential LNG development in the Port of Vlora.
Under the memorandum, Excelerate will explore the potential of an integrated LNG-to-power solution that includes developing an import terminal, it said.
ExxonMobil will “lead the charge on identifying opportunities to support the supply of LNG into Albania and the import development, as a project of national strategic importance,” Excelerate said.
In addition, the deal includes converting and/or expanding the existing Vlora thermal power plant, and establishing small-scale LNG distribution to Albania and the surrounding Balkans region, Excelerate said.
“As Albania looks to improve energy security and resiliency, we are confident that an LNG solution would provide reliability to the country’s power grid while complementing intermittent renewables and alternative resources,” said Steven Kobos, chief executive of Excelerate.
Home to eight major river systems, Albania relies on hydropower plants, which can become unreliable during times of drought, to supply energy to the country’s 2.8 million residents, Excelerate said.
LNG would bring “reliable, affordable, and cleaner energy” to the region and complement Albania’s hydropower-based electricity production, the firm said.
Excelerate expects to deliver the pre-feasibility report in the third quarter of this year, while the targeted start-up for the LNG import project could be as early as 2023.