Croatia has started preliminary underwater works in the northern Adriatic, the first concrete step in building a long-delayed liquified natural gas (LNG) terminal that is part of EU efforts to boost energy security and reduce dependence on Russian gas.
LNG Hrvatska, a local company in charge of the project, confirmed to Croatian daily Novi List that the works would involve research and drilling of the sea bed off the island of Krk, to test its stability, and would last until 25 September.
The EU has put the Krk terminal on its list of Projects of Common Interest, since it aims to diversify gas supply sources and decrease dependence on Russian gas. Brussels is putting in €101.4 million, almost 30% of the project’s assessed value.
The capacity of the LNG terminal, now expected to be finished in 2019, is seen at around two billion cubic metres of gas a year, with Croatia targeting central European markets as well as its own.
Croatia had originally aimed to construct a land-based terminal with three times higher capacity than the floating one but those plans were temporarily shelved, depending on Europe’s future gas demand.
The LNG project in the Adriatic was conceived more than a decade ago but the first concept fell through as slow decision-making in Croatia discouraged the original investors.
On the other side of Europe, Poland opened its first LNG terminal at the Baltic Sea port of Swinoujscie in 2016. Poland and Croatia have signed an agreement to build a North-South Gas Corridor link, which should be completed in two or three years and enable gas to flow between the two terminals.