A naval bridge between Barcelona and La Spezia to send liquefied gas to Italy. Small LNG carriers to transport fuel from the large tanks of the port of Barcelona to the Panigaglia regasification plant, located a few kilometers from the port of La Spezia (Liguria), whose quays cannot accommodate large ships. Panigaglia’s facilities are old. “We are going to launch a virtual gas pipeline with a system of small shuttle ships,” he told the Tuscan newspaper. La Nazione Marco Alvera CEO of Snam, the public company that manages the gas transport network in Italy.
It was written that the port of Barcelona would play an important role in the energy map redrawn by the war in Ukraine. With a storage capacity of 800,000 cubic meters of liquefied gas, the Enagás plant in Barcelona is the largest regasification station in the Mediterranean. legacy of Father Duran Farell , the engineer who introduced natural gas to Spain in the sixties. Panigaglia can only store 90,000 cubic meters of liquid fuel. Once regasified, one cubic meter of liquefied gas is transformed into 600 cubic meters of gas. Liquefaction occurs by cooling the gas to -160º, and regasification requires a gradual increase in fuel temperature.
The Barcelona plant will receive cargoes destined for Italy transported by large LNG carriers, it will store them in its tanks, and the shuttles will transport them to the coasts of the former Genoese republic to inject gas into the Italian network, which only counts in these moments with three regasification plants throughout the peninsula: the aforementioned Panigaglia plant, a floating station located near the port of Livorno, in Tuscany, and a larger capacity station in Porto Levante, on a artificial island off the Adriatic coast, not far from Venice. This plant can store 250,000 cubic meters of liquefied gas.
Italy, heavily dependent on Russian gas, hastily draws up emergency plans
The Iberian Peninsula currently has seven regasification plants (six in Spain and one in Portugal) which total 30% of the storage capacity of the whole of Europe and 25% of the regasification capacity. The problem of the Iberian Peninsula, very little dependent on Russian gas, is the lack of cross-border connections with the European network. It’s the key to Iberian exception recognized at the last European Council. For this reason, the resumption of the Midcat gas pipeline, interrupted in Catalonia three years ago, is being considered. Cross-border gas and electricity connections are a priority for the European Union today, but they will not be solved in two days, nor in four.
The Italian government is also backing the takeover of Midcat, a project that would take more than two years to complete, but is in a hurry given the risks to its energy security. There are factories shut down. Italy consumes a lot of gas (76 Gm3 per year against 33 in Spain, 1 Gm3 being one billion cubic meters). So the high consumption is 40% dependent on Russia. Russian gas crosses the Alps through Switzerland and Austria. Italy also receives gas from Algeria via the Enrico Mattei gas pipeline: Italy is Algeria’s main customer, ahead of Spain. And it also receives gas from Azerbaijan via a pipeline that crosses the Adriatic Sea from Albania. Italy has no nuclear power plants, due to social opposition to them and because it is a high seismic risk country. And it has not developed renewable energies as strongly as Spain. It is a highly urbanized country, with a high population density, since it is home to 60 million inhabitants in an area that is half the size of the Iberian Peninsula. In short, Italy is today a country very vulnerable to the vicissitudes of the energy market. There is a lot of nervousness and contingency plans are being prepared for next winter. The naval bridge with Barcelona is part of these emergency plans
The state company Snam launches studies for a Barcelona-Genoa submarine gas pipeline
In the medium term, Italy is also considering the construction of an undersea gas pipeline between Barcelona and the Genoese coast (see the vanguard on March 18) as an alternative to the Midcat, if France hinders its takeover. The Snam company has launched the first technical studies for this possible gas pipeline.
Italy is knocking on many doors. It has ordered more gas from Algeria and is seeking new contracts in Qatar, Egypt, Congo, Angola and Mozambique. Wait for North American gas offered by Joe Biden in Europe. And he asked for logistical support from Spain.
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