Italy’s Adriatic LNG import terminal boosts capacity

Italy’s Adriatic LNG terminal, owned by ExxonMobil, QatarEnergy, and Snam, said it has increased its regasification capacity by about 1 billion cubic meters per year.

Launched in 2009, the world’s first offshore gravity-based LNG import terminal sits about 14 kilometers offshore of Porto Levante in the northern Adriatic.

ExxonMobil has a 71 percent stake in Adriatic LNG, while QatarEnergy holds 22 percent, and Snam owns 7 percent.

The biggest LNG regasification terminal out of three large facilities in Italy has now increased its capacity from 8 to 9 bcm per year.

According to a statement by Adriatic LNG issued on March 17, this follows an approval by Italy’s Ministry of Ecological Transition.

The Ministry verified compliance with the environmental pre-operating conditions of the project.

Having successfully completed the authorization process in the preceding months, this was the final step towards the immediate implementation of the initiative, Adriatic LNG said.

“Adriatic LNG will therefore be able to deliver more of its customers’ natural gas into the national gas pipeline network thanks to the optimization of the offshore terminal’s operating regime, without any structural or plant modifications compared to the current configuration,” it said.

Highest utilization rate in Europe

By increasing its regasification capacity, Adriatic LNG would be able to make a “greater contribution” to meeting Italy’s natural gas needs as it would be able to cover around 12 percent of annual national consumption, it said.

The Adriatic LNG terminal claims it has for years had the highest utilization rate compared to any regasification terminal in Italy and Europe.

According to Adriatic LNG, its average utilization rate reached 92 percent in 2021 against a monthly average at European level of between 29 pecent and 40 percent.

The facility is the only one capable of accommodating almost all classes of LNG carriers, with a capacity of between 65,000 and 217,000 cbm of LNG. It also has two 125,000-cbm LNG tanks.

So far, Adriatic LNG has received more than 865 LNG carriers from eight countries, mainly from Qatar but also from Egypt, Trinidad and Tobago, Equatorial Guinea, Norway, Nigeria, USA, and Angola.

Edison takes about 80 percent of the terminal’s regasification capacity as part of a long-term deal.

Diversifying imports

“We have reached an important milestone at a critical time for our country’s energy security. Increasing the capacity of our terminal represents for Italy and also for Europe a tangible way to increase and diversify LNG imports,” Alfredo Balena, director of public and government affairs at Adriatic LNG, said.

The capacity increase comes at a time when Italy is looking to replace Russian gas pipeline imports in the next 24-30 months and could get at least two new large terminals.

Besides the Adriatic facility, Italy has Snam’s Panigaglia onshore LNG terminal and FSRU Toscana.

The country also has small-scale facilities such as the terminal in the port of Ravenna and the Higas terminal located on the Italian island of Sardinia.

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