Italy’s OLT Offshore LNG Toscana has released an expression of interest for a new service that will allow small-scale LNG carriers to be loaded at FSRU Toscana
Permanently moored 22 km off of Italy’s coast between Pisa and Livorno, FSRU Toscana regasifies LNG to the country’s national gas grid via a subsea pipeline. Following authorisation by Italy’s Ministry of the Economic Development on 8 October 2020, OLT can now provide a new LNG loading service on small LNG carriers, (SSLNG service).
The expression of interest follows the introduction of the SSLNG service within the OLT Regasification Code, in consultation from 24 February to 12 April 2021.
Through the expression of interest, stakeholders will be able to outline their proposals regarding their interest in annual capacity, expressed in the number of small-scale LNG carriers they expect to book, their small-scale service tariff expectations, and detail any small-scale LNG carriers they expect to be used.
Responses should be sent to to arrive no later than 17 May 2021 to the following e-mail: SSLNG@oltoffshore.it. OLT plans to offer the SSLNG service starting 1 January 2022.
OLT will be the first regasification terminal in Italy to provide the discharge of LNG into small-scale LNG carriers.
Growing small-scale LNG sector
The SSLNG market has developed due to the European Community’s efforts to promote the availability of lower carbon intensive fuels in the transport sector to support the clean-energy transition. The European Green Deal has further strengthened this path, setting the rules for an energy transition in all sectors – industrial, civil and transport – which will have to achieve total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions neutrality by 2050. LNG is seen as an essential fuel in that clean energy transition.
LNG will allow the transition to carbon-neutral fuels, such as hydrogen by 2050. In Europe, LNG propulsion has been rapidly growing in roros, passenger ferries, tugs, dredgers and cruise ships – with 12 new orders and two vessels already operating in the North Sea and the Mediterranean.
The fleet of small-scale LNG carriers is growing, too, from just six in 2019 to 21 vessels by the end of 2021. Moreover, LNG is playing a central role in heavy road transport. In Italy, for example, the number of LNG distributors for vehicle use has grown from six in 2016 to 94 by the end of 2020.
The OLT Offshore LNG Toscana regasification terminal is seen as a key component in underpinning the SSLNG market. FSRU Toscana will allow Italy to compete in one of the SSLNG markets. Additionally, a Sulphur Emissions Control Area (SECA) similar to those in the North Sea and Baltic Sea, could be established in the Mediterranean.
The heart of the terminal is an LNG carrier converted to act as an FSRU, receiving LNG carriers with cargo capacities from 65,000 to 180,000 m3 – which corresponds to almost 90% of the LNG carrier fleet currently in operation. Before the discharge, every LNG carrier is subject to a technical compatibility process, where all the construction characteristics are assessed in relation to the operations to be carried out at the terminal. Once the assessment is completed, the LNG carrier is added to the list of carriers pre-approved, published in the commercial area of OLT’s website.
Modifications to terminal
To receive small-scale LNG carriers, the terminal is undergoing modifications. These will cover the mooring system to allow the safe approach of smaller LNG carriers on the port side and changes to the existing LNG transfer systems. Based on a feasibility study, the small-scale LNG carriers must have a length between 90 and 120 m. Maximum loading capacity will be about 900 m3/hr.
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