The company has submitted the results of a nine-month Environmental Impact Study for approval by the Italian Environment Ministry. It is seeking clearance to begin a €200 million appraisal and development program, ready for Rivara to come on stream in 2010.
The Rivara gas storage reservoir is a fractured limestone formation that offers the opportunity to inject and withdraw natural gas rapidly to match seasonal demand patterns and take advantage of the associated trading opportunities.
It lies alongside Italy's balancing point on the gas "motorway" that transports Europe's long-term gas supplies from North Africa, and could play a key role in mitigating the effects of future gas shortages like the crisis which hit Italy last winter. At full capacity of 3.2 billion cubic meters, it would represent over 20% of Italy's current total gas storage and be larger than any current gas storage site in the UK.
IRG Chairman Grayson Nash said: "In completing this study, we have worked closely with the regional and central authorities and stakeholders in order to minimize administrative delays. The Italian authorities have been very focused on fast-tracking vital energy infrastructural projects, in light of the worsening gas crisis facing the country. We believe Rivara will prove crucial in helping to secure and balance gas supplies both in Italy and more widely throughout Europe."
The Environmental Impact Study submitted by IRG identifies a wide range of direct and indirect effects that the project would have on the local environment including its social impact.
Its submission for approval follows IRG's 2004 success in winning a concession to develop and operate facilities at Rivara over a period of up to 40 years, and is necessary to win re-confirmation of the concession.
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