Italian gas grid operator Snam will invest 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion) in a new LNG offshore terminal near Ravenna, the company's CEO said on Tuesday.
The floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU) will add to another LNG terminal already set up in Tuscany, increasing Italy's gas import capacity and reducing dependence from its traditional suppliers, including Russia.
"To increase energy security for Italy we decided last year, together with the government, to increase the country's LNG import capacity in order to have more flexibility and diversify energy supplies," Stefano Venier said.
The new terminal, which will have an annual capacity of 5 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas, will be ready at the end of next year and is expected to start commercial activity in early 2025, Venier said in Ravenna, a city on Italy's Adriatic coast.
Venier said he expected total gas consumption in Italy to fall this year to 62-64 bcm, from 68 bcm in 2022 when a curtailed supply from Russia, mild weather in the winter and spiralling energy prices reduced fuel demand.
Snam is currently working to prepare an offshore platform some 8.5 kilometres from the coast of Ravenna where the new floating terminal will be moored. It is also setting up pipes to connect it to the Italian gas network.
Venier said that the current turmoil in the Middle East was not having a short-term impact on Italy's energy security but it could slow down the development of the Leviathan gas field offshore Israel, creating risks for Europe's gas supply in the medium term.
(Reuters - Reporting by Francesca Landini, editing by Alvise Armellini and David Evans)