Genoa - The port of Ravenna will likely be the first in Italy to have facilities for the storage and distribution of liquefied natural gas, which is to be used by trucks and ships. In fact, yesterday morning at the final environmental impact assessment conference at the Ministry of Economic Development, the construction of the facility received its final approval: Guido Ottolenghi, CEO of the Per Group, who will build and manage the storage facilities with Edison, explained, “We should start construction by spring, so that we can have the facilities operational within three years. The investment is about €80 million for 30-40 employees at peak operation. From the bureaucratic point of view, I have to say that it was an interesting experience, because everything was resolved in just a year, in a general climate of collaboration and transparency”.
Compared to the other European or Mediterranean countries, how far along is Italy in terms of natural gas?
“The European directive which requires the use of low-sulphur fuels will take effect in 2021: we are now only at the beginning, but someone must take a risk and invest in this infrastructure. Furthermore, the leading road haulage companies in Italy are already ordering gas fleets. In northern Europe, ferries with this type of propulsion are already in service, and several shipping companies have put in orders for vessels of this type to be built. But even today terminals similar to those that will be built in Ravenna already exist in Barcelona and Marseille, and a project has also been announced on the Adriatic in Venice”.
Do you plan to build other infrastructure elements, perhaps on the other end of the pipelines from Italy to Croatia and Greece?
“Ravenna will be able to supply the entire Adriatic Sea through a fleet of large bunker barges.” So far, there is no consumption potential on the other side of the Adriatic that could justify an investment in gas storage facilities”.
Will you operate your own barges?
“Let’s say that for now we are trying to act as terminal operators... and to return to our plans, I must say that we have already indicated our willingness to study a project similar to Ravenna’s for Genoa, working with the local operators”.
In Genoa you requested to use ENEL’s coal storage facility to store chemicals which are now inspected by PIR in Multedo. How is that working out?
“The Port Authority is carefully examining our project... which we believe has many advantages, but I cannot be the one to say that. From the political point of view, there are divergent interests, and we are ready to consider other storage facilities, such as those which you have read about in the newspapers. The most important thing is to focus on the target: unfortunately, in Multedo we are not doing well at all. Back in September we said that our back was against the wall and the situation has not changed”.