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The cetacean sanctuary and the Livorno regasification plant

The cetacean sanctuary and the Livorno regasification plant


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NEWS FROM THE WORLD OF THE ENVIRONMENT

A regasifier in the cetacean sanctuary

April 12, 2010

In 1999 France, Italy and the Principality of Monaco signed an agreement for the creation of an International Cetacean Sanctuary (ratified and made executive by Italy with Law No. 391 of 2001) enclosed in a marine area of ​​about 100,000 square kilometers. Punta Escampobariou and the mouth of the Rhone in France, the Principality of Monaco, Capo Falcone in western Sardinia,Iron Chief in eastern Sardinia e Fosso Chiarone in Tuscany, to preserve marine mammals and their habitats. The idea was born in consideration of the fact that it was observed that in that stretch of sea there was a great wealth of pelagic life, especially cetaceans, thanks to the large amount of nutrients that came up from the seabed due to the unique oceanographic characteristics due to the special currents called "upwelling" that triggered a food chain, unique of its kind. In this area there were and are in fact present numerous important marine species such as the sperm whale, the fin whale, the dolphin, the bottlenose dolphin, the common dolphin, the zifio, the rasp, pilot whale and many others.


Note 1

The Sanctuary was also included in the list of special protection areas of the Barcelona Convention (Convention for the protection of the Mediterranean Sea from the risks of pollution) and therefore is recognized by all Mediterranean countries.

In this area about 12 nautical miles from the coast (about 20 km), off the coast between Livorno and Marina di Pisa, the construction of an offshore regasifier of the company OLT Offshore LNG Toscana SpA, owner of the project, is nearing completion. 30.5% by Endesa Europa and another 30.5% by the Iride Group. The company has signed an agreement with Saipem for the construction of the regasification plant while Snam Rete Gas will be responsible for running the gas pipeline for communication with the national network. Once completed, this facility will have a regasification capacity of 3.75 billion cubic meters of natural gas per year (5% of Italy's gas needs) becoming the first Industrial Marine Area of the world.

The regasification terminal will basically consist of two ships side by side and firmly anchored to the seabed and organized to receive liquefied methane from special tankers which, to keep it liquefied, will have to transport it at a temperature of around -160 ° C. Subsequently through expansion (and consequent cooling) the liquid methane would return to the gaseous state and would be introduced into a special pipeline located on the seabed to be conveyed to the mainland.

According to the company OLT Offshore LNG Toscana "The area in which the terminal will be located was specifically chosen, because it is considered of low value both from the fishing and environmental point of view. In fact the area is used for the storage of materials dredging of the port of Livorno. The images collected show the presence of a uniformly distributed muddy seabed and it can therefore be assumed that it is similar throughout the planned mooring area "and" the environmental impact of the plant in the (context of the Sanctuary) was equivalent in the area to that of any anchored ship ".

The various environmental associations, on the other hand, express great concern.

Legambiente states that "The Ministry of the Environment in December 2004 (in the EIA, Environmental Impact Assessment of the project) and expresses an opinion in favor of the environmental compatibility of the plant, but the reading of the document does not guarantee the environmental damage of the marine area. justifications for the hypothesized absence of damage to marine life caused by the release into the sea of ​​192,000 cubic meters per day of water cooled by 7 ° C and containing sodium hypochlorite. of Livorno, the consideration of a marine area as an industrial site, contrasts with the location in an area that is instead of value, close to the shoals of Meloria, which would be crossed by the pipeline and frequented by pleasure boats according to the vocation of strong tourism. environmental quality of the area The possibility of risks is suggested by the confinement and, above all, by the double ioprolongato transfer of a large quantity of gas (137,000 cubic meters), which would be flammable if it expanded by mixing in the right proportion with the oxygen of the air; any "flame" would spread over the water at unpredictable speeds and distances. In the aforementioned document of the Ministry of the Environment, the> good marine weather conditions are mentioned (page 8), while in 2001 a ministerial commission provided an opinion for an offshore plant in front of the port of Livorno for the discharge of LPG (petroleum gas liquefied), concludes that "... the type of meteorological conditions ... contribute to the difficulty of being able to manage offshore structures and connections with the coast with a sufficient degree of safety". After all, the Ministerial Decree 3.5.1984 prohibits the unbound (transfer) between units that are not both "ready to move with their own means", while in our case the terminal ship is firmly anchored. The population must be reassured through clear and documented public communication. "

Greenpeace & affirms that "(...) OLT's regasification plant, or coastal deposit, presents risks that do not seem to have been correctly assessed from a technical point of view and also qualifies as an unacceptable and dangerous legal precedent because it implies the location of industrial plants and the creation of industrial zones in the open sea. This project would open the way to a new generation of industrial plants which, with a precedent, could freely dump dangerous substances into the sea, due to the absence of specific protection regulations. he therefore believes that this project is a dangerous technical and legal experiment, which should not be allowed, particularly in an area with a special protection regime such as the Cetacean Sanctuary. (...) "

The WWF also expresses all-round concern both on environmental damage "(...) No assessment has been made of the effects of the plant's spills in the sea as by its nature, it would release every year, in addition to other pollutants, many millions of cubic meters of natural methane gas contributing significantly, both to the pollution of the entire already particularly degraded area, both to the earth effect (...) "and to the risks of accidents as" the plant would have been located in a seismic area without having any preliminary study (....) "; beyond this it is stated that it would cause serious economic damage as there would be" (...) limitation to the traffic of vessels - for an area, currently quantifiable in approximately 43 square kilometers, except confirmation or changes - would be an obstacle to recreational boating, to the activity of the port of Livorno as well as to its future expansion possibilities - for example following the realization of the "autost rade del mare "- (...)".

But why, if it is true that the Cetacean Sanctuary was born with the aim of favoring (and we have no reason to believe otherwise):

  • the intensification of the activity against pollution of any origin that may have an impact on marine mammals and their habitats;
  • the progressive suppression of toxic discharges from ground sources;
  • a ban on intentional capture or disturbance of marine mammals;
  • the regulation or prohibition of motor racing;
  • adaptation to Community fisheries legislation;
  • the regulation of whale-watching tourist activities.

(taken from the website of the Ministry of the Environment)

necessarily this regasifier must be placed inside a protected area that is so delicate for the repopulation of species, some of which are at risk of extinction?


Greenpeace blitz against the regasification plant in the cetacean sanctuary, but Digos intervenes

After blitz of the fake Orangutans last Saturday, the "pirate activists" of Greenpeace strike again! This morning, in fact, three dinghies of the organization set off, again from the legendary one Rainbow Warrior has now arrived off the coast of Livorno, attacking the ship Far Samson who is working on the construction of the regasification terminal in the Cetacean Sanctuary, where just a few days ago 5 dolphins died.

Climbing onto the crane, three activists displayed some banners that read " End of the Sanctuary " is " Minister saves the Shrine ", While the others, from the rafts, wrote on the side of the ship" Finished whales ". Greenpeace thus condemns the collapse of the Sanctuary of the Cetaceans accusing the government of having started work on the offshore regasification plant in Livorno / Pisa and authorized the first Industrial Marine Area in an area protected by the Agreement with France and Monaco.
"This is a protected area only on paper .- Explains Giorgia Monti, head of the Mare campaign for Greenpeace- L and whales are leaving while the state of degradation of the area increases due to ship traffic, pollution and , now, of the construction of the first industrial site at sea ».

According to the census conducted by the association in 2008, in fact, only a quarter of the expected fin whales were found in the area, as well as the population of dolphins compared to the values ​​of the 90s.

What Greenpeace accuses the Government - and in particular of Minister Stefania Prestigiacomo to whom a letter was delivered - is to conduct, like Japan, a double game: on the one hand, by officially undertaking to protect the cetaceans of the Sanctuary with the signature of the 'International agreement, but at the same time giving the green light to the regasification plant and thus showing how “the economic interests have once again prevailed over those of citizens and the environment“.

For this reason, the association had asked for an urgent meeting with the Honorable Prestigiacomo so that he could take action to stop the work and with an effective management plan for the Sanctuary. The answer came after a few hours. Certainly not the one desired because two of the three activists climbing the crane were brutally removed and risky by the Digos agents who intervened to stop the protest.
"There was a forced removal of two of the three activists without respecting any of the safety procedures that are usually respected, without the equipment normally used," accuses Monti: "This intervention has endangered the volunteers, whom we remember they are pacifists. One of our activists was brutally lifted and dragged away by the crane ».
That was what the police had assured the activists two hours of time as a margin to contact the Minister of the Environment and ask for a meeting, but the forced intervention began just after half an hour. Currently, however, the action continues because there is still a third activist hanging safely that the police cannot reach. As well as the Minister Prestigiacomo of which we are still waiting.

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Good news for the Livorno regasification plant

Among the various negative news that dot the scenario of our energy policy, first of all the almost absolute dependence on imports, positive information comes from Livorno regarding the offshore regasification plant.
As is known, these plants make it possible to reduce the dependence, often blackmailing, on pipeline managers. The methane, in the liquid phase, is in fact carried by LNG carriers to the regasifier which has the task of transforming the methane from a liquid to a gas phase.
Also in Livorno, according to the Nimby principle of "Not in my back yard" (no near my house) committees have been set up against the regasification plant (for the defense of the cetacean sanctuary, against the risk of accidents, for possible failures to LNG carriers, etc.) and the dances of the street protests have been opened, but the project for the "floating" regasification terminal is proceeding rapidly, as is the structure of the builders and operators.

In recent days, Iride (the company that unites the utilities of Genoa and Turin) and Endesa have subscribed a capital increase of 4.5 million euros for the initial financing of the plant.

The capital increase announced in May provided for an allocation of nine million from all shareholders, including Belleli and Golar, who did not subscribe.
The share of Iride and Endesa in the capital of Olt Offshore Toscana (this is the name of the company involved in the construction of the regasification plant) thus rises to 61% (30.5% each), while the Golar share is reduced from 20 to 16% and that Belleli from 29 to 23%.

The design engineering phase should be completed by September and the construction phase should be carried out, which will be entrusted to Saipem. At that point, Olt Offshore Toscana will launch a new capital increase which will see the shares of Golar and Belleli reduced by around 10%.

The commissioning of the plant, whose work began at the end of last February, is scheduled for the end of 2009, in compliance with the scheduled deadlines.

Once fully operational, the regasification plant will allow the regasification of 3.75 billion cubic meters of gas per year, equal to just under 5% of national needs.

Golar, while reducing its stake in the capital of Olt Offshore Toscana, will continue to play an important role both for the technical operations of the plant management and for the transport of gas.


What does the Livorno regasification plant have to do with fracking?

Published on 21/02/2020 in News

The gas carrier Golar Frost. Photo Lens Envy, flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The European Commission has given the green light for Snam and First States Investment International (FSI), part of the Mitsubishi UFJ Trust and Banking Corporation, one of the largest asset managers in Japan, to purchase the Livorno regasification plant.

According to the Commission, the change would not conflict with European competition law, as the companies would not be competitors in the sectors in which they both operate. In addition to this, the antitrust legislation in place would be a further guarantee in terms of competition.

The project, known as OLT - Offshore LNG Toscana, was built on the initiative of the multi-utility Iren and the German energy company E.On after more than a decade of troubled vicissitudes we have talked about here. The plant is an FSRU - Floating and Storage Regassification Unit, and has a double function: the first is that it transforms the natural gas received by the LNG carriers from liquid to gaseous state, and transmits it to the national network through a pipeline of about 36 km the second is that it can store about 137 thousand m3 of gas. After its delivery from the Dubai shipyards in the summer of 2013 and the subsequent technical testing at the end of the same year, the terminal remained underused for several years, mainly carrying out storage services.

Self-censored by the OLT as "a case of excellence for the liquefied natural gas sector" from an engineering point of view, the terminal - which has an authorized regasification capacity of 3.75 billion Sm3 - has been heavily contested by the committee against the Livorno regasifier and from Vertenza Livorno also for its environmental impact: the offshore regasifier is in fact located 22 kilometers from the Tuscan coast, within the international marine natural park of the Cetacean Sanctuary. In addition to this, its exorbitant cost - over 800 million euros, against an estimated cost of around 250 million - and the aid guaranteed through an ad hoc law that guaranteed coverage of 71.5 percent of the "expected revenues. "To the OLT, have" done broom "with the EIB loan of 240 million euros and with the public guarantee of the Italian government. So Iren and Uniper (who took over from E.On a few years ago) were able to sleep peacefully despite the under-utilization of the plant until the end of 2018.

Then in 2019 the announcements of the sale arrived, first by Uniper and then by Iren, who sold ownership of the plant for a total value of approximately 745 million euros. To date, the project is controlled by Snam with 49.07% of the ownership, followed by FSI (48.24%) and by Golar LNG, the owner of the gas carrier adapted to regasification and gas storage (2.69 %).

According to information provided by a sector portal, 36% of the gas arriving in Livorno in 2019 came from the United States: it would therefore most likely be gas derived from fracking operations that have a much higher environmental and climate impact than that of conventional extraction. The other countries of origin would be Algeria, Egypt, Nigeria, Norway, Peru, Qatar, Trinidad & Tobago and other European terminals such as Spain and Holland.

The plant would now be subject to modification works to adapt the terminal to also carry out "small scale LNG" services, i.e. the loading of liquefied natural gas on small LNG carriers that can transport it to the coastal depots used for refueling ships freight or cruise ships that use gas as fuel.

The acquisition fits perfectly into Snam's expansion plan, which according to its CEO Marco Alverà would see LNG "a decisive sector for enabling the energy transition and promoting sustainable mobility, with global demand destined to double from here to 2035, reaching 600 million tons per year ”. Forecasts that, as always, should be verified. How everything then reconciles with the fight against climate change is another story altogether.


The cetacean sanctuary is almost empty

RELATED NEWS
Greenpeace

MILAN - In the cetacean sanctuary, «reduced to an open sewer», the fin whales could have decreased by 75% and the dolphins (dolphin family) by 50%. These are the data that emerge from the Greenpeace report on the Ligurian Sea area, the result of a survey carried out in August 2008 on the Arctic Sunrise ship, 16 years after the last monitoring (in 1992 there were about 900 whales and dolphins between 15 and 42 thousand specimens). Arctic Sunrise sailed over 1,500km to count cetaceans, take water samples and monitor marine traffic. The navigation covered the western sector of the Sanctuary (roughly in the Alghero-Toulon-Genoa triangle). According to the survey results, the area was affected by pollution, traffic, illegal fishing and above all the lack of a management body and a protection plan.

PROBLEMS - As for dolphins the range population now ranges from 5 to 21 thousand specimens, while for whales the sighting of a small number (a quarter compared to expectations) did not allow an estimate to be made. The problems identified by Greenpeace in the sanctuary, defined as "an empty box without rules and controls" are specifically: "pollution due to severe contamination by fecal bacteria on the high seas (in two stations of the eleven analyzed), uncontrolled traffic with ferries running to 70 km / h, an activity of whale watching carried out in a dangerous way with airplanes and motorboats, the noise that disturbs the cetaceans and illegal fishing ». Greenpeace's request is to subject the Cetacean Sanctuary to a protection and management regime, creating a large offshore marine reserve with a ban on fishing and the release of toxic or dangerous substances, to protect a unique ecosystem of which cetaceans are part. integral.

"SMOKE IN THE EYES" - "In the Sanctuary - denounces the environmental organization - absolutely nothing specific has been done to prevent and progressively eliminate pollution (on the contrary, we want to establish the first industry offshore: the Livorno-Pisa regasification terminal), to limit the risks of collision of boats with cetaceans and prevent the impact of noise, to put a stop to illegal fishing or to protect the coastal strip. Italy, France and Monaco are therefore not much better than Japan which kills whales for "scientific purposes". The Sanctuary is just smoke in the eyes, which hides the progressive decline of cetaceans in the Ligurian Sea caused by old and new threats ».

ECOSYSTEM - The area was born precisely thanks to an agreement between Italy, France and Monaco - in force since 2002 - which protects approximately 87,000 sq km of the Ligurian Sea. It should have protected the ecosystem and the populations of cetaceans that inhabit it, among the richest in the Mediterranean. It is the main summer feeding area of ​​the fin whale: a population, explains Greenpeace, which is on the way to becoming a separate species from the Atlantic.


February 26, 2009 (last modification: February 27, 2009)

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Toxic waste in the Cetacean SanctuaryIn Livorno the protest of the ecologists

On December 17, despite the weather alert of the civil protection, a ship lost almost two hundred bins containing polluting material at sea. Recovery operations still stalled. In the silence of the leaders and most of the institutions, people took to the streets to protest

The truth, it is said, sooner or later always comes to the surface. Yet for days the news of the loss of two semi-trailers with 198 bins containing toxic waste, in the stretch of sea between Gorgona and the Banco di Santa Lucia, has been turned offshore. To clarify and denounce yet another environmental accident, today several hundred people demonstrated at the entrance to the Medici port of Livorno. Behind the slogan "the sea is not a landfill" gathered the various souls of the protest, which involved local parties (Rifondazione Comunista, Sel, Idv, Verdi) and various acronyms between environmentalist committees (Citizens Ecologists, No to the regasification plant, Legambiente, Greenpeace) and trade union organizations (Cobas, Unicobas, Usb).

"We are surprised and bewildered by the delay in communicating the news to the citizens - he said Gabriele Volpi, of Citizens Ecologists - almost a month has passed and this can only give rise to further perplexities ”. The unspoken history, albeit with various aspects still to be clarified, has however been reconstructed. On the evening of December 16, the ferry Venice of the company Grimaldi sails from the port of Catania towards Genoa. It carries containers and two semi-trailers loaded with 224 bins containing catalysts Co / Mo, based on cobalt and molybdenum monoxide. Basically, a toxic substance used in the oil refining steps, coming from the petrochemical of Priolo Gargallo, in the Syracusan area. The ferry is on its way despite the civil protection weather alert, which announces the arrival of a storm. And on December 17th the forecasts come true: strong libeccio wind, troubled journey. At 4 am, however, the reports of the last inspection of the cargo did not reveal any anomalies. The surprise arrives at 7.30 am, docking time in Genoa: two semi-trailers are missing and the load of bins is almost totally lost. Only 26 remain, while the other 198 - according to calculations - were lost in the depths of the Tuscan archipelago.

“Although there may have been cases of voluntary rejection of hazardous materials that we suspect in many - he explained Alessandro Gianni, campaign manager Greenpeace - it seems proven that in this case it is an accident. The ship arrived in Genoa in precarious conditions ”. Noting the loss of the cargo, the commander claims to have notified the Harbor Master's Office, which appears to have informed the fishermen and some local institutions only on 27 December. On 30 December, a summit was convened in the prefecture which was attended by representatives of Region, Province, Arpat, Asl, Ispra and the Zooprophylactic Institute of Pisa. Not the Municipality of Livorno.

Watch the video by Michele Lezza

“There have been some delays that are difficult to explain - said Gianni - but my personal impression is that not even the authorities know exactly what happened. One of the few established facts is that a helicopter was sent shortly after the disaster, with the intention of finding something floating. Nothing was found, probably because this stuff wasn't floating. So why send a helicopter when you know you can't find anything? We got news that these drums were empty and the materials were quite in bulk or nearly so. Authorities probably moved according to the commander's information. But it is serious in this situation that the authorities have a precarious knowledge of a protected area such as that of Sanctuary of the Cetaceans, where there should be high control and prevention mechanisms. For example, we would not have expected the passage of a ship with dangerous cargoes in the known rough sea conditions ”.

The judiciary has opened an investigation into the matter and the commander was entered in the register of suspects for violation of the rules governing the loading and transport of special waste. Silence, however, on the part of the Grimaldi company, despite the shipowner being ordered to recover the cargo. “The company - he explains Sergio Nieri, head of the Sequenza e Cultura Association - claims to have acted in accordance with the rules governing emergency conditions and to have arranged for the recovery and disposal of the drums, which are however conditional on the financing of the operations. Once again, the recovery of these materials hazardous to health is subject to the suspensive condition of the availability of financing institutional".

Even members of the majority took part in the demonstration. "We need to be clear - said the director IDV, Andrea Romano - there is little hope that the bins will be found. I have more faith in a city awakening that will hinder the imminent construction of the regasification plant. We can no longer afford to play Russian roulette on our territory ”. An intervention that once again increases the distance with the allies of the Democratic party local, which push on the regasification plant and with which the agreement on energy and environmental issues is at an all-time low.

And to conclude the speeches of the day it was precisely Arianna Terreni of the Pd. "The majority took it upon themselves to bring the request to the highest institutional levels. We too want clarity ”. Words overwhelmed by whistles. The story highlighted the scarce interaction with the citizens, so the credibility of the institutions is at the moment abyssed in the depths like the toxic bins.

by Alessandro Doranti

Done for future - Receive Mercalli's column and the most important initiatives for the future of the planet every Thursday.


Livorno, Greenpeace members are chained to regasification

Some Greenpeace activists, at least three according to initial information, chained themselves this morning to the Far Samson ship that is working on the Livorno offshore regasification plant to protest against the construction of the work.

The activists reached the ship aboard three rubber boats left from the flagship Rainbow Warrior, which is located off the coast of Livorno. The rafts then approached Far Samson and some activists got on the crane displaying banners with the words "End of the Shrine" and "Minister saves the Shrine". The regasification terminal will in fact be born in a stretch of sea which, according to environmentalists, is included in the so-called 'Cetacean Sanctuary'. While some supporters of Greenpeace climbed on the crane of the ship, others, from the rafts, wrote on the side of the ship "Finite whales".

Greenpeace asks for a urgent meeting with Minister Prestigiacomo and activists will remain on the crane awaiting the response.


Video: Beluga whales Little Grey and Little White move into their sea sanctuary care area in Iceland


Comments:

  1. Maucage

    Takes a bad turn.

  2. Jake

    With him in the end you take care?

  3. Scadwiella

    Surely. I agree with you.

  4. Kivi

    This message is incomparable)))

  5. Jackson

    I fully share her point of view. I like your idea. Offer to put a general discussion.



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