Italy approves Sorgenia, Iride LNG terminal's EIA

Italy's environment ministry has approved plans by Compagnie Industriali Riunite's energy unit Sorgenia and northwest utility Iride for construction of an LNG terminal at Gioia Tauro in Calabria.

May 2nd, 2008

Eric Watkins
Senior Correspondent

LOS ANGELES, May 2 -- Italy's environment ministry has approved plans by Compagnie Industriali Riunite SPA's energy unit Sorgenia SPA and northwest utility Iride SPA for construction of an LNG terminal at Gioia Tauro in Calabria.

The two firms have a 70% controlling stake in the Gioia Tauro plant, which will have a regasification capacity of 12 billion cu m/year. The proposed terminal is due on stream in 2013 pending approval by other Italian government authorities.

Meanwhile, Sorgenia is considering construction of an 8-12 billion cu m/year regasification terminal at Trinitapoli in southern Italy—one of several LNG projects in the planning stages or before Italian environmental authorities.

In February, Snam Rete Gas SPA CEO Carlo Malacarne said the firm plans to build a pipeline linking the country's transmission system to an 8 billion cu m /year LNG receiving terminal near the northeastern port of Trieste to be built by Spain's Gas Natural SA.

Malacarne also said Snam Rete Gas plans to boost the annual capacity of its Panigaglia LNG terminal in northwest Italy to 8 billion cu m from the current 3.5 billion cu m. Construction is due to start at yearend 2010, after receipt of necessary permits.

Also in February, however, BG Group PLC said the Italian environment ministry had requested more information regarding the group's application for environmental clearance to build an LNG terminal at Brindisi (OGJ, Nov. 12, 2007, Newsletter).

Ministry Director General Bruno Agricola said BG's environmental impact assessment (EIA), delivered on Jan. 15, did not contain any assessment of risk factors regarding a possible industrial accident.

Even if BG's environmental problems are resolved, Agricola said Italy's national gas grid operator Snam Rete Gas SPA does not have enough capacity to transport the gas from more than one LNG terminal in the area.

Last October the Italian government suspended BG's permits to build the facility until BG completed the new EIA report. The Brindisi project was scheduled to start up in 2010 but the firm now thinks that target could be "challenging."

Contact Eric Watkins at hippalus@yahoo.com.

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