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Croatia eyes expansion of floating LNG import terminal, Slovenia supply option


Capacity rising to 2.9 Bcm/year, potential for 3.5 Bcm/year: PM

Slovenia could look to take capacity via the import terminal

US dominant supplier of LNG to Croatia in first year of operation

  • Author
  • Stuart Elliott
  • Editor
  • Daniel Lalor
  • Commodity
  • LNG Natural Gas

Croatia wants to expand the capacity of its floating LNG import terminal at the island of Krk, its Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said March 28, with Slovenia also interested in taking LNG via the facility.

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The 2.6 Bcm/year capacity floating LNG import terminal began operations in January 2021 and is the first LNG import facility to serve the Balkan region directly.

It has received a total of 25 cargoes since it started, representing a volume of 2.2 Bcm of gas equivalent, according to data from S&P Global Commodity Insights.

In a government statement March 28, Plenkovic said Croatia was expanding the capacity of the facility to 2.9 Bcm/year, while advisers had said it could also be increased further to a maximum of 3.5 Bcm/year.

Earlier on March 28, Plenkovic held talks with his Slovenian counterpart Janez Jansa, with gas high on the agenda.

"We want to strengthen energy cooperation between Croatia and Slovenia," Plenkovic said. "The competent ministers will meet next week regarding the use of LNG terminal capacity, which Croatia intends to expand," he said.

Russian dependence

Slovenia is dependent on Russian gas imports to meet demand, with Geoplin holding a long-term import contract that is due to run until 2028.

Russia's state-controlled Gazprom sold a total of 0.4 Bcm of gas to Slovenia in 2020, the last year for which full sales data is available.

"Given the strategic decisions of the EU on a clear step away from Russia when it comes to energy, this is an issue we need to work on," Plenkovic said.

Jansa applauded Croatia for its "timely" decision to install an LNG terminal, adding that the war in Ukraine meant Europe's LNG import capacity would be strengthened.

Slovenia, he said, was interested in the expansion of the capacity of the Croatian LNG terminal "as soon as possible."

Europe struggled to secure LNG cargoes for most of 2021 as higher Asian LNG prices drew cargoes away from the European market.

However, higher European prices saw LNG supply into Europe pick up significantly toward the end of 2021, with European prices continuing to hold a premium over spot Asian LNG prices into 2022.

According to Platts price assessments by S&P Global, the TTF contract for May delivery was priced at $34.07/MMBtu March 28, while the JKM price for May delivery was assessed at $30.33/MMBtu.

Croatia deliveries

The US has been the dominant supplier to the Croatian terminal since it began operations, delivering 15 of the 25 cargoes to date, data from S&P Global showed.

Six cargoes were delivered from the Freeport facility, three from Sabine Pass, three from Corpus Christi and one each from Cove Point, Cameron, and Elba Island.

Of the remaining 10 cargoes delivered to date, two each were supplied from Nigeria and Qatar, and single cargoes were imported from Egypt and Trinidad.

There were also four reloads -- two from Greece and one each from Belgium and France.

The original bookers of long-term capacity at the facility include Croatian utility HEP, and the Croatian subsidiaries of Switzerland-based trader MET and Hungary's MFGK.

Croatia LNG -- a joint venture of Croatian players Plinacro and HEP --- is the operator of the FSRU project.

The project operator took FID on the Croatian LNG project in January 2019 after the Croatian government decided to give it a grant of Eur100 million ($117 million) towards the total estimated cost of Eur234 million.

That was in addition to funding of Eur101.4 million from the European Commission.