Montenegrin NGOs Urge EU Not to Support Gas Terminal Project


Montenegrin civil society organisations urged the European Union not to support the building of a liquefied natural terminal at the Adriatic port of Bar, arguing the EU should not back projects that increase fossil fuel use.

A group of 27 Montenegrin civil society organisations sent a joint letter to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Tuesday, calling on the EU not to back the construction of a planned new LNG terminal at the port of Bar.

The NGOs argued that the EU should not be supporting projects that increase fossil fuel usage in the Western Balkans.

Montenegro is not connected to international gas networks and uses only small volumes of fossil fuel, putting it in a more favourable position for decarbonization than the EU, which is struggling to free itself from fossil gas imports after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine,” the letter said.

“The LNG terminal, if built, would create a carbon lock-in for Montenegro, that the country would not be able to resolve before the 2050s,” it added.

On May 12, the outgoing Montenegrin government signed a memorandum of understanding with US companies Enerflex Energy Systems and Wethington Energy Innovation to construct an LNG terminal in Bar.

At a meeting of the EU-Balkans ‘Berlin Process’ initiative in Tirana on October 2, European Enlargement Commissioner Oliver Varhelyi said that EU is ready to support the building of the LNG terminal in Bar in partnership with Montenegro, stressing it could be a new energy entry point for the region.

According to the memorandum of understanding, the terminal in Bar would consist of an offloading pier for imports of liquid gas, storage facilities, and a regasification facility directing the gas into a short pipeline to the nearby thermopower plant.

The LNG terminal and the power plant would have a capacity of up to 440 megawatts, and is planned to start operating by the end of 2025.

The planned offloading pier would be able to handle 25,000 barrels per hour and the storage facility would have an approximate capacity of 250,000 barrels. The agreement estimated that the investment in the LNG terminal would be from 130 to 250 million euros.

The NGOs warned that LNG terminal construction takes five to ten years, stressing there is no existing infrastructure in the country that would enable a shorter construction period.

“It would mean that the terminal could start operating at the earliest in the 2030s when the EU should already cut its gas consumption by 30 to 50 per cent… Moreover, no cost-benefit or environmental assessments have been publicly disclosed or consulted for the LNG project,” the letter said.

On July 10, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said that his country is ready to make use of the planned LNG terminal at the port of Bar.

Montenegro hardly uses gas at all and does not have functional distribution networks in the country.

Source : Balkaninsight