MILAN, April 5 (Reuters) - Gas Natural Fenosa's
plans to build a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in Italy
suffered a setback on Friday when Italy's environment ministry
suspended an environmental permit.
A statement on the ministry's website said the environmental
impact evaluation (EIA) has been suspended for 6 months to give
Gas Natural time to find a new location for the terminal planned
for the port city of Trieste.
As an alternative, the company can work with the port
authority to review its traffic plans in the port area.
Minister Corrado Clini said the Zaule terminal was not
compatible with maritime traffic and port development.
The Spanish group, which plans to invest more than 500
million euros to build the 8-billion cubic metre per year
facility, began the complex permitting process in 2004 and
completed the EIA in 2009.
The plant - which has seen years of planning by regional and
ministry officials - has encountered stiff resistance from grass
root opposition and location objections from the port committee
and the Friuli-Venezia Giulia Region.
Chronic red tape in Italy has caused several foreign
developers to shelve investment plans to build gas terminals at
a time when the Italian government is trying to attract
investors to its shores.
Last November Royal Dutch Shell decided to withdraw
from a project to build an LNG plant in Sicily after having
spent seven years wading through paperwork.
Earlier in 2012 UK gas producer BG Group threatened to
shelve plans to build an LNG plant in the southern region of
Puglia after failing for 11 years to obtain all the necessary
Italy has two working LNG terminals with a third plant under
Due to the economic crisis, falling demand for energy from
businesses and consumers has generated a situation of oversupply
of gas, leading some critics to say more LNG plants are simply
Gas Natural has said its project in Trieste could be built
in three years once all the permits needed are obtained.
(Reporting by Steven Jewkes;editing by Sofina Mirza-Reid)
Keywords: ITALY LNG/
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