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Making LNG affordable for the CEE market – interview with Ivan Fugaš, Director of the Operations and Technical Affairs Division at LNG Croatia

Earlier in April, the operator of Croatia’s Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) Terminal introduced a new non-standard service for the users of the Terminal, who can now arrange LNG reloading from the Floating Storage Regasification Unit (FSRU) vessel to LNG transport trucks (ship-to-truck reload operation).

By providing this service, the LNG Terminal on the Island of Krk has become unique in the world of the LNG industry since LNG Croatia is the first to perform a complex LNG reloading operation directly from the FSRU vessel to trucks. And more and more LNG carriers are arriving at the Krk terminal, the latest of which, the ‘BW Pavilion Leeara’ was successfully moored on 1 May.

Ahead of the 37th International Scientific & Expert Meeting of Gas Professionals to be held in Opatija on 11-13 May, CEENERGYNEWS spoke with Ivan Fugaš, Director of the Operations and Technical Affairs Division at LNG Croatia about the role that LNG will play in ensuring the supply diversification that we need right now under current circumstances and what the future holds for the Croatian Terminal.

“With this new service [reloading of LNG from FSRU vessel to trucks], the Terminal has provided to Croatia and to this part of Europe with a new LNG station, making LNG more affordable for this part of the market,” Mr Fugaš begins. “Through the development of its services, LNG Croatia is constantly trying to increase the usability of the Terminal and to improve and enhance its LNG business in the region.”

He goes on to say that by providing this service, the company will receive feedback from the market, which will be a key indicator in the development of the distribution station for the supply of LNG.

“For now, the response for this service is great and all slots are practically reserved, which only proves that the provision of this service will have a great impact on the business of LNG Croatia and further energy development for this part of Europe,” Mr Fugaš explains.

If all slots are practically reserved, one might think that an expansion of the Terminal could be the next step, as more capacity will be needed.

“The current maximum capacity of LNG regasification offered to the market is adjusted to the gas transmission system of Croatia,” Mr Fugaš points out. “LNG Croatia together with the Transmission System Operator (TSO) Plinacro performed technical analyses and hydraulic tests of the possibility of increased natural gas transmission from the LNG terminal to the transmission system, by increasing the regasification of liquefied natural gas on the FSRU vessel LNG Croatia to a certain level.”

“We have successfully managed to increase maximum capacity from 2.6 billion cubic metres (bcm) to 2.9 bcm. Further increase in capacity requires certain investments in the development of the transmission system.”

Indeed, with the REPowerEU plan announced by the European Commission, the continent is counting on more LNG imports to reduce its dependency on Russian fossil fuels. With the measures included in the plan, the EU could gradually remove at least 155 bcm of fossil gas use, which is equivalent to the volume imported from Russia in 2021. An unprecedented LNG supply to the EU in January 2022 has already ensured the security of gas supply for this winter and the bloc could import 50 bcm more of LNG on a yearly basis. Here Croatia can play an important role.

“The LNG terminal on the island of Krk was constructed and put into commercial operation to ensure energy needs and increase the security of supply through a new natural gas supply entry point for Republic of Croatia and the countries of Central and Southeast Europe,” recalls Mr Fugaš.

“In these difficult times, the LNG Terminal in Croatia will respond to all the challenges and we will ensure that all quantities for our users will be delivered to the natural gas transmission system.”

Speaking of the future, he underlines that since the beginning of its commercial operation, the LNG Terminal has, through its development, in addition to the basic activity of LNG regasification, put into operation two non-standard services, ship-to-ship and ship-to-truck thus fully fulfilling the usability of the LNG Terminal. 

“In the coming period, we will focus on further development and improvement of the provision of all services and all analyses to further increase the security and reliability of the LNG Terminal,” he concludes.

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