El Musel LNG Terminal

From Global Energy Monitor
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El Musel LNG Terminal is a proposed liquified natural gas (LNG) terminal in Asturias, Spain. Following construction of the terminal in October 2012, it was immediately mothballed and remained idle for almost ten years. In April 2022, plans were announced to commence operations potentially by the end of the year.

Location

It is located in Gijon, Asturias, Spain.

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Project Details

  • Parent: Enagás
  • Location: Gijon, Asturias, Spain
  • Coordinates: 43.5696, -5.6934 (exact)
  • Capacity: 8 bcm/y[1]
  • Status: Proposed[2]
  • Type: Import
  • Retired Year: 2012
  • Start Year: 2023[1]

Note: mtpa = million tonnes per year; bcm/y = billion cubic meters per year

Background

In April 2008, Fluor announced it was awarded a contract worth approximately $320 million for the engineering, procurement, and construction management of the facility by Enagás.[3][4] Construction began in 2008, with a planned commissioning date in 2011.[4] It contained two storage tanks with a capacity of 150,000 m3 each, seawater vaporizers and ancillary equipment, and unloading arms capable of discharging 18,000 m3 per hour.[3][5]

In March 2012, El Musel LNG Terminal was mothballed following a legal decree and depressed demand for natural gas.[6][7] Accordingly, after construction was completed in October 2012, the facility was put into hibernation.[8] The 2022 GIIGNL Annual Report states construction was completed in 2013.[9]

In February 2017, Enagás was exploring alternative options to utilize the El Musel LNG Terminal, in which it had already invested more than €380 million, such as using it as a gas storage and logistics hub.[8] Enagás stated that "the project complies with all current regulations in force and is pre-commissioned and maintained to guarantee a minimum start-up cost and deadline."[8]

In March 2017 the Port Authority of Gijón approved the El Musel terminal for alternative use as a bunkering facility, allowing it to supply ships with LNG; this decision was met with opposition from local political groups who maintain this use would go against previous court decisions.[10] The plant's bunkering prospects have since gotten a boost from new environmental regulations requiring ships to convert their motors to run on natural gas. As of November 2019, Spain's national port authority was actively lobbying for the El Musel terminal to be converted to this use.[11]

In April 2022, the Spanish government announced plans to open the idle terminal for receiving and re-exporting fuel to other European countries looking for alternative gas sources to break their dependence on imports from Russia. Enagas was reported by Spanish media to be sending a proposal to the market regulator which would allow El Musel to start operating by the end of 2022 at the earliest. According to Enagas, the terminal has the capacity to store 300,000 cubic meters of LNG and could process approximately 10 bcm/y.[2]

In July 2022, the Spanish government provided a key approval for the terminal to start up operations in early 2023, if additional regulatory approvals are granted. The facility would have LNG import capacity of 8 bcm/y which would then be trans-shipped to other European ports.[1]

Opposition

In March 2016, the Supreme Court of Spain issued a decision upholding the High Court of Justice of Madrid's July 2013 decision rejecting the Ministry of Industry's authorization to construct the LNG terminal.[12] At issue was a 1961 regulation that prevents the construction of facilities posing a health and safety risk within 2 kilometers of villages. As a consequence of the Supreme Court's ruling, Enagás would have been required to go through the authorization process from the beginning prior to commissioning the LNG terminal.

Opposition groups have cited the low utilization rates among Spain's LNG terminals to call into question the necessity of such extensive LNG infrastructure. According to Food and Water Europe, "Since 2008, all LNG terminals (except for Mugardos) have been expanded and the total regasification capacity has increased by 8%, despite a decline in gas demand...even though the utilisation rate of Spain’s LNG regasification capacity was at only ~23% on average between January 2012 and March 2019, same as the low EU average during the same time period! The need to have so much LNG regasification capacity is questionable and best illustrated with the El Musel LNG Terminal (7bcm/y and a 300,000m³ storage capacity) which was completed in 2012 and then directly put into 'hibernation', 'until demand picks up'. The terminal has not been used since then. Despite large underutilization, Spain was the 5th biggest LNG importer with the 5th biggest liquefaction capacities worldwide in 2018, and for both cases number 1 in Europe (followed by France). Since at least 2016, Spain repeatedly imported cargoes of fracked US gas through its LNG terminals."[13]

Articles and resources

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Iain Esau, Spanish LNG terminal to be fired up after nine years in mothballs, Upstream, Jul. 12, 2022
  2. 2.0 2.1 Isla Binnie, Spain to open idle liquid gas facility as European storage base, Reuters, Apr. 8, 2022
  3. 3.0 3.1 Enagas El Musel LNG Terminal, Fluor, accessed September 2017
  4. 4.0 4.1 Fluor to Build New Enagas LNG Terminal on Spain's North Coast, Killajoules, 29 Apr. 2008
  5. El Musel Regasification Plant, Enagás, accessed September 2017
  6. Enagas: Musel LNG Terminal to be Mothballed After Completion, Spain, LNG World News, 24 Apr. 2012
  7. Royal Decree-Law 13/2012, Official State Bulletin, 31 Mar. 2012
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Enagás negotiates with large marketers to give activity to the regasification of El Musel, El Comercio, 12 Feb. 2017
  9. International Group of Liquefied Natural Gas Importers (May 24, 2022). "Annual Report 2022 Edition" (PDF). GIIGNL. Retrieved July 5, 2022.
  10. "EUROPE: Green light for LNG bunkering in Gijón". Bunkerspot. March 8, 2017.
  11. "La puesta en marcha de la regasificadora de El Musel está «más cerca», según Enagás". El Comercio. November 27, 2019.
  12. Enagas' El Musel LNG plant declared illegal by Spanish Supreme Court, Enerdata, 4 Mar. 2016
  13. Spain Food and Water Europe, accessed December 6, 2019

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External resources

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