Excelerate, Snam pen MoU on Albanian gas pipe
US floating LNG specialist Excelerate Energy and Italian infrastructure firm Snam have agreed with Albanian state-owned oil firm Albgaz to build a pipeline to distribute regasified LNG in Albania.
Excelerate and ExxonMobil signed a memorandum with Albania's government in March on developing a regasification terminal in the Albanian port of Vlora. The proposed pipeline would connect the Vlora terminal with "other natural gas infrastructure opportunities in Albania," Excelerate said in a statement on July 15. The companies will also look at establishing underground gas storage in Albania.
Albania relies on hydroelectric dams to generate almost all its electricity, leaving it vulnerable to shortages in times of drought and forced to use costly imports. Though an oil producer, the country extracts minimal amounts of natural gas and lacks a transmission grid.
However, Albania now serves as a transit nation for the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), which was launched late last year and flows gas from Azerbaijan into southeast Europe. The government sees TAP's completion as an opportunity to expand the role of gas in its energy mix, recently agreeing terms with the pipeline's consortium on building an exit point to access its gas.
Vlora is a logical location for a regasification terminal, given that the port also hosts a 100-MW thermal power plant that can run both on oil and gas. The plant was commissioned in 2009 but remains offline because of technical faults.
"Leveraging our downstream capabilities and working alongside Albania to explore expanding their access to reliable energy, we are able to take an integral step towards energy security for the country," Excelerate CEO Steven Kobos said in a statement. "Together with Snam and Albgaz, we recognize the potential impact this pipeline can have for the region."