Italian authorities have given the green light to OLT Offshore LNG Toscana, operator of FSRU Toscana, to load small-scale LNG carriers at the floating terminal 22 km off the Italian coast
The small-scale LNG carrier service will be available in about a year, underpinning wider spread use of LNG as a fuel for ships, vehicles and power generation, and Europe’s clean energy transition.
OLT chief executive Giovanni Giorgi said the authorisation was “the beginning of a new challenge” for the company, which has operated the FSRU at 100% capacity the last two years. Part of the challenge for OLT will be modifying the FSRU to accommodate small-scale LNG carriers.
“The detailed design was developed in parallel with the authorisation process during this emergency phase, the orders for components and necessary works can start by the end of 2020,” said Mr Giorgi. “According to the planning we have foreseen, in 12 months we will be able to load small LNG carriers.”
Moored off the Tuscan coast between Livorno and Pisa, FSRU Toscana would be an important source of small-scale LNG (SSLNG) in the Mediterranean.
“Spain, France, Belgium, Holland and Scandinavia have already had SSLNG services provided by their regasification terminals for years, allowing the loading of both tankers that supply service stations for LNG trucks and small LNG carriers that can directly serve other ships with dual-fuel or exclusively LNG engines…” said OLT Offshore LNG Toscana in a release.
Clearly the shift to LNG as a fuel has gained momentum after the implementation of the IMO 2020 0.50% sulphur cap and the announcement of European Green Deal, with more LNG-fuelled vessels and road vehicles supported by fuelling infrastructure. Controlled by Snam and First Sentier Investors, OLT Offshore LNG Toscana pointed to the increasing number of LNG distributors for heavy transport in Italy, which now stands at 81 up from six in 2016, and the size of the LNG bunker vessel fleet in Europe, which is expected to grow to 21 by the end of 2021 – up from just six two years earlier.
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