Italian energy giant Eni has delivered its first commercial cargo of liquefied natural gas to the floating storage and regasification unit based at the receiving terminal in Piombino, Italy, to help bolster Europe’s energy supply ahead of its winter heating season.
Unloading operations of the 90 million cubic metre cargo last weekend marked the completion of the test phase and the launch of the terminal’s commercial operation.
Italy’s new regasification plant is run by gas grid operator Snam.
Eni procured the volumes from Algerian state energy company Sonatrach’s liquefaction facility in Bethioua, Algeria.
“The partnership with Sonatrach and Algeria plays a central role in our strategy to diversify supplies and expand its gas portfolio,” said Eni, with investments in fast-track projects that will increase available volumes for the Italian and European markets.
Eni is targeting growth in its LNG activities with contracted volumes expected to increase to more than 18 million tonnes per annum 2026, more than double that of 2022.
The Piombino regasification facility is one of two newly planned LNG terminals in Italy, and one of more than 20 projects dotted across Europe that were sanctioned in 2022 to rapidly increase Europe’s import capacity and reduce dependence on natural gas pipeline supplies from Russia.
The Piombino FSRU-based import facility has total processing capacity of 5 billion cubic metres per annum — about 7% of Italy’s gas demand.
In 2022, Snam acquired the Golar Tundra FSRU for deployment in Piombino and is developing a second FSRU terminal in Ravenna, Italy, which is expected to start operations in the second half of this year.
By the end of 2024, when the two FSRUs are scheduled to be fully operational, Italy’s regasification capacity will increase by about 11 Bcm and imports will cover close to 40% of the nation’s gas demand, Snam estimated.