ExxonMobil, Excelerate Pen Deal on Albanian LNG Study
ExxonMobil and US floating LNG specialist Excelerate Energy have signed a memorandum with Albania's government to study a potential LNG regasification project in the southeast European country, the companies said on March 12.
The proposed terminal would be situated at the port of Vlora in south Albania. Under the memorandum, the partners will assess the commercial, technical and regulatory aspects of the project. They will also consider the recommissioning and potential expansion of an existing power plant, and evaluate the viability of a small-scale LNG market in Albania.
The findings of the study are due to be delivered in the third quarter of 2021, with a view to commissioning the LNG import project as early as 2023.
Albania gets the bulk of its electricity from hydropower plants, many of which were built in the communist era. The country suffers power shortages in periods of drought, forcing it at times to resort to costly imports to cover its needs. It commissioned the 100-MW oil and gas-fired Vlora thermal power plant (TPP) in 2009 but the facility remains inactive because of a cooling system failure.
"Supply diversification and the enhancement of supply security are crucial to Albania and to our Balkan neighbours as well," Albanian energy minister Belinda Balluku said in a statement. "We are confident that LNG can be the key to achieving these strategic objectives and to finally provide a solution to the complex Vlora TPP project by choosing the best partners, equipped to deliver a project of such magnitude."
Albania produces very little gas of its own and has limited gas transmission infrastructure, even though the country now serves as a transit route for Azeri supplies via the 10bn m3/year Trans-Adriatic Pipeline, launched at the start of this year.
"LNG enables transportation of natural gas from supply centres to customers safely and cost effectively,” ExxonMobil LNG strategy and portfolio manager Ed Austin commented. "While we are at the early stages of exploring this opportunity, ExxonMobil’s global resources and reliable LNG supply chain can help Albania meet its fast-growing demand for natural gas and ensure long-term supply security."
ExxonMobil is developing 12mn metric tons/year of LNG supply at projects in Papua New Guinea, Mozambique and the US. Excelerate, meanwhile, owns floating storage and regasification units that have been deployed in the Americas, Asia and Europe.
"As Albania looks to improve energy security and resiliency, we are confident that an LNG solution would provide reliability to the country’s power grid, while complementing intermittent renewables and alternative resources," Excelerate CEO Steven Kobos said.