Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic on Thursday presented the possibilities of the LNG terminal on Krk island to Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer and Bavarian PM Markus Söder, with the intention to connect Austria and Germany to it by a gas pipeline co-financed by the European Commission.
After seeing the terminal, Plenkovic said they issued a joint statement formalising the start of cooperation between Croatia, Austria and Germany in the energy and political context.
A joint body will be established, comprising representatives of their governments and experts, that will define models of energy cooperation in the construction of the pipeline and expansion of the LNG terminal’s capacity, he added.
The cooperation is important in the wake of Russia’s aggression on Ukraine as all of Europe is looking for alternative supply routes, and as part of the green transition, Plenkovic said. “In Croatia we must contribute not only to our own energy security but that of the neighbouring countries, too, including Austria and Germany.”
He recalled that this past summer the government decided to expand the capacity of the Krk LNG terminal from 2.9 to 6.1 billion cubic metres of gas annually. This is twice the need of Croatia’s households, enterprises and industry, Plenkovic said.
A route across Slovenia is required to connect Austria and Bavaria with the terminal by a pipeline, so talks with Slovenia are also important, he added.
Nehammer said the next steps in this project would be left to experts. “We will contact the European Commission together as soon as possible and seek support. In Austria there is political will to join this project. We’ll work out the project and overcome the supply bottlenecks.”
The chancellor said that since the start of the war in Ukraine, Austria had significantly cut Russian gas imports and diversified energy sources. It’s also important to think about gradually abandoning fossil fuels and about hydrogen as an energy source of the future, he added.
Sőder said this was an important step with the common goal of ensuring energy independence, preserving energy sources and combating climate change. “We are looking for new renewable energy sources, from hydrogen via wind parks to solar power plants, in which south Europe can be important.”
The project of connecting Germany via Slovenia and Austria envisages the construction of another LNG terminal on Krk island, it was said. The options are a mainland terminal with a capacity of 15 billion m3 of gas with an estimated value between € 1.75 and 2 billion, or another floating terminal with a capacity of 9.6 billion m3 annually, costing €1.2 billion.
The project also envisages a €600 million gas pipeline across Slovenia. The pipeline and the terminal would be designed for the future transport of hydrogen.
Gas pipelines will also be built on the Zlobin-Bosiljevo route as well as towards Hungary, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania, and Montenegro.