May 11, 2023[Snam]- San Donato Milanese (MI) – Piombino, 5th May 2023. Today in the port of Piombino, the first test phase for the FSRU Golar Tundra, Snam’s regasifier ship, will begin in the port of Piombino, pending the plant’s commissioning.
Last night (between 4th and 5th May), the LNG carrier Maran Gas Kalymnos was moored, carrying the first load of gas for the first set of safety checks and testing to be run on the equipment and pipelines that make up the plant.
The two ships, both of which were moored side by side on the East quay of the North dock at the port in Piombino, were visited by representatives from national and local institutions such as the Minister for the Environment and Energy Security, Gilberto Pichetto Fratin, the Special Commissioner for the Piombino regasification plant and President of the Region of Tuscany, Eugenio Giani, and the President of the Piombino Port Authority, Luciano Guerrieri; they were accompanied on the tour of the plant by Stefano Venier, CEO of Snam, who stated, “The arrival of the first load of gas, which will allow us to carry out the plant’s testing and fine-tuning operations, is another important step in equipping the country with an infrastructure that is fundamental to the security and diversification of supplies. Proof of this is the fact that 86% of the entry capacity has already been sold to multiple operators for 20 years, and all of it in the next 3 years. We started this 11 months ago with the purchase of the Golar Tundra, and for the past 6 months we have been working with about 450 people on the shore and quayside sites employing 150 sub-contractors and suppliers, and about half of them are Tuscan. It is a complex, innovative project but one that is not unusual for a company like Snam, which has guaranteed the country’s energy infrastructure for 80 years‘.
The LNG carrier Maran Gas Kalymnos, carrying an Eni cargo of 170 thousand cubic meters of liquefied natural gas, left Damietta in Egypt for Piombino on 27th April. It was launched in 2021 and measures 294.9 metres long, 46.4 metres wide and 55 metres high.
With the help of 4 tugboats, the LNG carrier entered the port of Piombino last night when the ferry traffic had stopped as part of a manoeuvre lasting around 2 hours. The LNG carrier was moored at the Golar Tundra and will transfer the liquefied natural gas through 6 hoses to the FSRU’s tanks which are to be returned to a gaseous state and fed into the national transport network.
The Golar Tundra is 292.5 metres long, 43.4 metres wide and 55 metres high, and is equipped with 4 tanks for storing 170,000 cubic metres of liquefied natural gas and a continuous regasification capacity of 5 billion cubic metres per year.
The tests will begin by connecting and cooling down the hoses linking the LNG carrier to the FSRU, resulting in the transfer of approximately 70,000 cubic metres of LNG (out of a total of 170,000) into the Golar Tundra’s tanks. The next phase of testing involves the start of the regasification test phases (commissioning), which will involve setting up the necessary plants and systems, with part of the gas being sent through the new pipeline to the entry point on the national grid.
Around a few weeks later, the LNG carrier will return to the port to be moored again at the Golar Tundra to offload the remaining 90,000 cubic metres of LNG. The final testing phase involves checking the performance at different regasification profiles (acceptance test).
Some 90% of the cargo will be fed into the grid for domestic consumption while the remaining 10% will be used to ensure the vessel’s operability.
Around 100 crew and ground personnel will be involved in this testing period. In the future, it is expected that the regasifier will be staffed by approximately 60 people, some 40 of whom will be crew.
Around 450 contracted and subcontracted workers were put to work at the yard during the peak phase, with 40 people dedicated to work management; there were 21 subcontracting companies (3 from the province of Livorno and 7 from Tuscany) and 147 suppliers, 27 from Livorno and 35 from Tuscany. More than 300 workers resided in the area during the transfer period. Over 300,000 man-hours were invested to ensure the highest standards in terms of the vessel’s safety and performance.
The works to modernise the mooring quay and the connection line to the national grid involved laying about 17,000 metres of piping with various diameters, casting some 3000 cubic metres of concrete, building more than 250 tonnes of metal carpentry, and installing almost 180 km of electrical and equipment cables; there was also the construction of the underground sea crossing between the quay and the Ponte D’Oro area spanning approximately 1320 metres, thus avoiding any interference with the seabed and it was considered the longest amount of drilling carried out in Europe with a 1200 mm diameter pipeline using the direct pipe method.
LIQUEFIED NATURAL GAS
Since the beginning of the gas emergency, which was made more acute by the outbreak of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, LNG has assumed an increasingly central role. In 2022, imported gas in the form of LNG accounted for 18.8% of the gas injected into the national grid, while from the beginning of 2023, it accounted for approximately 24.3%.
There are already 3 regasification plants in Italy, the first of which is owned by Snam and has been in operation since the early 1970s at Panigaglia in the province of La Spezia; said plant has a regasification capacity of 3.5 billion cubic metres per year. Off the coast of Livorno is OLT (it has Snam and Igneo Infrastructure Partners as shareholders) with a regasification capacity of 3.7 billion cubic metres of gas per year, a capacity that may increase to around 5 billion cubic metres from 2024 onwards. The largest is located in Porto Viro, Rovigo (ExxonMobil, Qatar Energy and Snam) with a regasification capacity of 9 billion cubic metres per year.
Lastly, Snam will commission another floating regasifier, the BW Singapore, the Golar Tundra’s sister vessel, which will be moored on an offshore platform off Ravenna with a regasification capacity of 5 billion cubic metres per year to be commissioned at the end of 2024.
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