NewsProspects and Risks: Montenegro's Bid to Establish Itself as a Regional Liquefied...

Prospects and Risks: Montenegro’s Bid to Establish Itself as a Regional Liquefied Natural Gas Hub Through Port of Bar Terminal Construction

Supported byOwner's Engineer banner

The local authorities and residents of Bar are against the construction of an LNG terminal in the Port of Bar, expressing concerns about health, biodiversity, tourism, and the economy. This was the conclusion of the recent session of the Open Parliament of the Municipal Assembly (SO) Bar, where citizens and experts discussed this project.

The Mayor of Bar, Dušan Raičević, stated that he is explicitly against the construction of the LNG terminal in the Port of Bar.

Supported by

All that used to be a regulated system is now being lived in a completely unregulated system where the level of responsibility at the local level cannot even be determined because all responsibilities at the local level have been taken away,” he commented.

The President of the Municipal Assembly of Bar and Member of the Parliament of Montenegro, Branislav Nenezić, said that he does not take sides, but if something that can be a potential danger costs a billion euros, it is better to redirect that money somewhere else. He announced that, as a member of the parliamentary Committee on Tourism, Agriculture, and Spatial Planning, he will submit a request for a control hearing of the Minister of Spatial Planning, Urbanism, and State Property, Janko Odović, regarding the construction of the LNG terminal.

Supported byElevatePR Digital

Former Prime Minister Dritan Abazović signed a Memorandum of Understanding in May 2023 between the Government of Montenegro and two American companies for the construction of a liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminal in Montenegro and the installation of a gas-fired power plant, with the supply coming through the terminal in the Port of Bar.

The Memorandum represents the commitment of the signatory parties to initiate discussions and actions towards the realization of two energy infrastructure projects: the construction and installation of a fixed LNG import terminal in Montenegro and its further storage, regasification, and transportation, and the project for the construction and installation of a greenfield gas-fired power plant in Montenegro, supplied with gas through the LNG import terminal.

At the session, Amra Kazazović spoke on behalf of the Institute of Public Health, stating that this gas, like any other energy source we currently use, brings certain risks. According to her, risk factors include the extraction process, the location of the terminal, proximity to settlements, and the characteristics of methane, which makes up to 95% of natural gas.

Natural gas is at -162 degrees. Such a low temperature, if it were to come into direct contact with humans, would have serious consequences. However, direct contact rarely occurs. First of all, the gas is contained in a specific material that prevents contact and the effects of such low temperatures, she stated.

A representative of the NGO Bankwatch Network and Coordinator for the decarbonization of the district heating sector in the Western Balkans, Nataša Kovačević, stated that according to the EU accession process and Montenegro’s development policies since signing the Stabilization and Association Agreement, the construction of the LNG terminal should not occur.

‘We would have to import gas from Azerbaijan, and that is again Russian gas,’ she emphasized.

The signing of the memorandum in 2023, as representatives of the then-government stated, was also a desire to reduce the influence of Russian energy.

Kovačević highlighted the environmental danger of this gas and the terminal, as well as the impact on climate change, for which, as she stated, this gas is responsible for 25%. She emphasized the need to focus on clean energy sources, renewable sources, and solar energy, rather than gas, which Europe and the world are moving away from.

Kovačević mentioned that since 1944, there have been 13 serious hazards or disasters recorded, almost always resulting in human casualties, and that Montenegro is not proficient in controlling what happens in port terminals.

In Algeria in 2004, they had 28 fatalities and 120 injuries. Then in San Juan, in Panic, or in Mexico in 1984, there were 500 fatalities, and there was extensive damage to other facilities due to explosions. In North Korea in 2013, there were 5 fatalities, she stated.

Lawyer and Bar resident Vesna Čejović said that if this project were to be realized, it would have enormous consequences for the tourist economy, natural resources, ecology, environment, and people’s health for many years.

Miloš Mirković, a resident of Bar and the first officer of an LNG gas transport ship at Shell, said that LNG is not a poisonous gas and would not pollute the sea and the atmosphere.

He explained that LNG is actually natural liquid gas and is currently the cleanest fossil fuel obtained by converting gas into a liquid state by holding it under a pressure higher than 43 bars or by cooling it to -160 degrees Celsius.

That gas is found underground and consists of 93% methane with negligible amounts of butane, propane, and nitrogen.

Methane, he said, is not poisonous but is flammable when in the atmosphere mixed with oxygen between 5 to 16 percent. He mentioned that as long as it is in a liquid state, it is not flammable, nor is it flammable while in a tank or pipeline, and that odors are added for easy leak detection.

I don’t know where the information comes from that this technology is on its last legs – Mirković replied to previous speakers and added that it is more complicated to transport but safer in liquid form than in gas. In the next 20 to 30 years, he says, there will be investments in gas, and solar energy is not profitable.

He claims that LNG is not significantly harmful to the environment and said that if there were a release, it would occur vertically and not horizontally, as the previous speakers claimed, and there would be no explosion or danger to the city.

Citizens who expressed predominantly negative views on the construction of the LNG terminal participated in the discussion, expressing concerns about Mount Volujica, and also criticized former Prime Minister Abazović.

Around 30 citizens, lawmakers from the ruling parties, and two opposition lawmakers participated in the Open Parliament.

Varhelyi: Montenegro would be a hub in the region for liquefied gas

Commissioner for EU Enlargement, Oliver Varhelyi, announced during a meeting with Abazovic in October last year that the EU is ready to build an LNG terminal in Montenegro in partnership with the country.

He stated that the construction of a gas terminal in Bar would be of great importance for Montenegro and the region, given the energy crisis caused by Russia’s aggression in Ukraine. With its construction, Montenegro would become a hub for other countries in the region in terms of liquefied gas.

The Prime Minister then reminded that the government had previously signed a memorandum with American investors regarding the LNG terminal in Bar, concurrently assessing the interest and readiness of EU partners to finance such a project from European funds.

Sign up for business news updates & special reports.

Supported byspot_img

Related posts

Supported byspot_img
Supported byspot_img
Supported byInvesting Montenegro logo
Supported byMonte Business logo
error: Content is protected !!