Croatia's state-owned natural gas transmission system operator (TSO) Plinacro is on course to build the first phase of a potential 4-6 billion cubic metre (Gm³)/year LNG terminal by 2016, it confirmed on 4 July.
The first phase will boast a 1-2Gm³ capacity and will be operational in 2016, or even 2015 if the project's technical analysis can be expedited, according to a member of Plinacro's strategic development department, Florijana Ðedovic.
The results of an ongoing feasibility study for the project will be known by September 2013, with a final investment decision expected some time before the end of 2013, Ðedovic said.
Phase two of the project will see the initial regasification capacity increasing to 2-3Gm³ by 2018, provided sufficient market interest is evident. The desired 4-6Gm³ will be reached in the project's third phase, depending on a gas market analysis nearer to the end of the decade.
Ðedovic confirmed comments made by the Croatian deputy prime minister Radimir Cacic that the E600m project will by 25% funded by EU development funds. This will be done through the Western Balkan Investment Framework.
However, Ðedovic dismissed comments by Cacic stating that the terminal will have an immediate 5Gm³/year capacity from 2016.
An earlier feasibility study funded by the European Commission is thought to have recommended a 4Gm³/year floating storage regasification unit as the most suitable design for the planned facility at Omišalj on Krk Island in the north of the country.
Plinacro partnered with Croatia's state-owned electricity incumbent Hrvatska Elektroprivreda HEP to form the LNG Hrvatska consortium, which will oversee the construction of the terminal.
Adria LNG plan on ice
Meanwhile, the TSO added that another Croatian consortium, Adria LNG, has had to put its plans to build a Balkan LNG terminal on ice.
The Adria LNG consortium consists of Germany's E.ON Ruhrgas, Austria's OMV Group, France's Total and Slovenia's Geoplin.
The group shelved a final investment decision until 2013 because of falling gas demand in Europe.
That terminal is expected to have an initial annual capacity of up to 10Gm³, which could rise to 15Gm³/year, and is also slated for the island of Krk. It expects to be operational by 2017.
Croatia consumes about 3Gm³/year of gas, but hopes that the LNG terminals will amplify its importance as a transit country for gas transportation.
Copyright 2012 Heren Energy Ltd. All Rights Reserved.
(Originally published July 16, 2012, in European Gas Markets.)