SOCAR is assigned a crucial role in the gasification of Albania

SOCAR is assigned a crucial role in the gasification of Albania

Albania, whose energy sector depends on coal and hydroelectric power plants, in the next two years will begin to acquire gas — the fuel of the “transition period” in Europe’s movement towards green energy and decarbonization, and the most important role in this process is assigned to the state oil company of Azerbaijan (SOCAR), according to Azerbaijan in Focus, reporting Turan.

In 2022, the Albanian government presented 6 projects for the purchase and distribution of gas with a total cost of 4 billion euros, and SOCAR participates in the two projects that are closest in terms of implementation.

The talk is about, first of all, the gasification of the large city of Korçë  (the technological and agricultural hub of Albania, which also houses important objects of tourist and cultural heritage), which will be financed by Azerbaijan. The second city in the gasification process, according to the government’s strategy, will be Fieri — 15 km from the Adriatic Sea (in the center of Albania).

Both cities are located close to the infrastructure of the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), which has been operating since 2020, the European part of the Southern Gas Corridor (the corridor originates in Baku).

During the visit of Albanian President Bayram Begay to Baku on July 7, his Azerbaijani counterpart Ilham Aliyev said that “the feasibility study of the gasification project will be ready by the end of the year, and after that, I hope, we will immediately start investing, that is, it will be a net investment of Azerbaijan in Albania in the construction of a gas distribution line.”

As an informed source explained to Turan, “SOCAR is preparing a full-scale feasibility study on the gasification of Korçë  and will try to complete this work by the end of 2023.”

“Currently, the length of the gas pipeline line, its capacity, possible investments in construction, timing are being clarified,” a source told Turan.

The gas in Korçë is supposed to be used both for heating and for electricity generation (instead of coal — within the framework of REPower EU).

Turan has learned that a special project team consisting of specialists from various departments of SOCAR is in constant contact with the relevant companies and the Government of Albania on the issue of gasification of Albania.

In addition, SOCAR is studying the prospects of other international projects to create the Albanian gas market. One of them is the construction of a liquefied gas (LNG) terminal in the city of Vlora, from where it is planned to extend a connecting branch to TAP (connection in the Albanian city of Fieri), as well as to supply gas from Vlora LNG to a new gas compressor station in the same city (Vlora).

The Albanian side also has the intention to connect Vlora and Fieri with a gas line, which may take about 40 million euros.

The Vlora-LNG project and the Vlora-Fieri bundle involve the American company “Excelerate Energy” (interested in delivering liquefied natural gas to the port of Vlora), Italian “Snam” and Spanish “Enagas” (TAP participant) and Albanian “Albgaz.”

According to “Excelerate” estimates, the scope of the first phase of the project includes the deployment of one FSRU (floating LNG terminal-vessel) with a volume of 138,000 cubic meters, the modification of the berth, as well as the reactivation and expansion of the 350 MW power plant.

As for Azerbaijani gas, Albania is still only a transit country on the route of the SGC, which has been operating since December 2020.

However, the authorities of the country talk about the desire (prospects) to buy about 700 million cubic meters of gas per year with the expansion of the SGC.

The expansion of the SGC will take place by 2027 (possibly doubling the capacity), and not only Albania, but also Italy, Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia, and Hungary are waiting for this in Europe.