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OLT receives small scale LNG green light

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LNG Industry,

The Ministry of Economic Development, in agreement with the Ministry of Infrastructures and Transport and the Tuscany Region, have issued a decree authorising OLT Offshore LNG Toscana, the company controlled by Snam and First Sentier Investors that manages the FSRU Toscana terminal off the Tuscan coast between Livorno and Pisa, to provide the discharge of LNG in to small scale LNG carriers.

The FSRU Toscana terminal is the first regasification terminal in Italy capable of providing small scale services in Italy. This new activity adds an important piece to the country’s energy logistics, allowing for the completion of a supply chain that permits the use of LNG as a sustainable fuel and capable of reducing polluting and climate-changing emissions in heavy land and sea transport, as well as for industrial and civil uses in areas not served by the national transport network.

OLT’s small scale LNG project will also allow the country to be competitive in one of the markets with the highest potential growth rate, as already demonstrated by the experiences of northern European countries, thanks to the introduction of a SECA area in the North Sea in the Channel and in the Baltic Sea, also following the use of European funds.

In Europe, countries such as Spain, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Scandinavia have already had small scale LNG services, provided by their regasification terminals, for years, allowing the loading of both tankers that supply service stations for LNG tracks and small LNG carriers that can directly serve other ships with dual fuel or exclusively LNG engines – thus in compliance with the strict International Maritime Organization (IMO) legislation on nitrogen oxide and sulfur emissions, which entered into force as early as 1 January 2020. LNG as a fuel plays a fundamental role for the energy transition that will lead to the abandonment of fossil fuels in 2050, towards fuels with zero CO2 emissions, such as hydrogen.

The managing directors of OLT, Giovanni Giorgi and Maurizio Zangrandi, expressed satisfaction with the upcoming start of the small scale service.

“In recent years”, said Giorgi, CEO of OLT, “we have worked to maximise the use of the Terminal. FSRU Toscana has been working at 100% of its capacity for two years now, receiving LNG from almost all continents. The signing of the decree marks for us the beginning of a new challenge that we are ready to take up with enthusiasm, even in a difficult time like this: never stop, always look beyond.”

“The detailed design was developed in parallel with the authorisation process during this emergency phase, the orders for the components and the necessary works can start by the end of 2020. According to the planning we have foreseen, in twelve months we will be able to load small LNG carriers”, added Giorgi.

"With almost 8000 km of coastline, Italy is located exactly in the centre of the Mediterranean” said Zangrandi, CEO of OLT, “and with the opportunity to play a key role in the spread of LNG in favour of the energy transition. Thanks to this project, our country will also be able to make use of a more sustainable energy source than traditional fuels, in line with the best practices already widespread in Europe. In fact, in the short term, we will no longer have to depend on LNG supplies from France, Spain, and Belgium, with significant industrial benefits for the Italian naval sector.”

The new service will reportedly be preliminarily presented to users on 29 October, during a workshop organised by Snam and aimed at the gas market, which will also be an opportunity to discuss other current issues related to regasification, transport, and storage activities.

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