Two American companies – Excelerate Energy and ExxonMobil – have signed a memorandum of understanding with the Albanian government to prepare a feasibility study for an LNG terminal to be built in the port of Vlora.

The document was signed on 12 March this year. Tirana’s plans to build an LNG import terminal is related to the need to diversify the country’s electricity sources. At present, Albania produces most of its energy in hydroelectric power stations, mainly on the Drin river (accounting for over 90% of the country’s electricity needs). However, these are already obsolete and no longer reliable, as their efficiency may drop to zero at a time of drought.

The Albanian government therefore relies on natural gas as a source of electricity. The LNG terminal will supply the raw material, which will then be regasified and used in power plants.

The government in Tirana will be assisted in the project by American companies, which have extensive experience in such projects. Press releases noted that under the agreement the Excelerate Energy company will be responsible for developing the part of the feasibility study relating to the LNG import terminal itself and the conversion (or expansion) of the Vlora power plant, as well as small-scale distribution of LNG in Albania and neighbouring countries.

In turn, producer of liquefied natural gas ExxonMobil will identify the possibilities for LNG supply to the new terminal as part of the feasibility study.

The government in Tirana assumes that the construction of the LNG terminal in the port of Vlora will start in 2023. The feasibility study is expected to be ready in the third quarter of 2021.

By Annie Cook (photo: Excelerate Energy)