GAS INFRASTRUCTURE: Croatia’s LNG Terminal High on EU’s List of Strategic Energy Projects
Representatives of Croatia, Slovenia, Austria, Italy, Hungary, Slovakia, Greece, Romania and Bulgaria held the inaugural meeting of the Central East South Europe Gas Connectivity (CESEC) High Level Group in Sofia, Bulgaria, on 9 February. The meeting was also attended by European Commission (EC) Vice-President for Energy Union, Maros Sefcovic, and Commissioner for Climate Action & Energy, Miguel Arias Canete.
The group was established in response to the Ukraine crisis and the recent scrapping of the South Stream natural gas pipeline project, which some EU member states (e.g. Bulgaria) had been counting on as an important source of gas supply in the future. The CESEC group’s main goal is to create a regional priority infrastructure road-map and initiate its implementation, in order to develop lacking infrastructure and improve the EU’s security of gas supplies.
Sefcovic said Central and Southeast European countries, largely dependent on Russia’s gas supplies, should have at least three different sources of natural gas. “We will make a quick inventory of all infrastructure projects, which should also be co-financed by European funds,” he stated. The EU energy chief added the working group would come up with an action plan on priority gas projects by June 2015, when the next meeting was scheduled to take place.
In terms of gas supply security, along with the Ionian Adriatic Pipeline (IAP), Croatia’s flagship project is the LNG terminal on the Island of Krk, whose importance has been acknowledged by both the EU and the US. Valued at €630 million, the project was included on the EU’s Projects of Common Interest (PCI) list and was also applied for funding under the investment plan inaugurated by EC President Jean Claude Juncker.
After several years of preparation, in late-2014 the state-owned company LNG Croatia “kick-started” the project. Two tenders are already in motion…