The partners in the first LNG project to be developed in the Black Sea will decide in January whether to press on with the €4.5bn investment after the feasibility study has been already completed, Ziarul Financiar daily reported.

The study was submitted by the consultant Penspen Limited (a UK registered company) to the project company Azerbaijan–Georgia–Romania-Hungary (AGRI), which is comprised of Romania’s Romgaz, SOCAR of Georgia and MVM of Hungary.

The project has been postponed repeatedly, but current developments in Ukraine and the cancellation of the South Stream gas pipeline project by Russia have increased its attractiveness.

The project concerns the import of LNG from Azerbaijan through Georgia and onwards over the Black Sea to Romania. Hungary has also joined the project. The main investments required for it are two LNG terminals in Georgia and Romania.

The LNG project is expected to cost around €4.5bn for a capacity of eight billion cubic metres of gas per year. Smaller-sized versions of the project are also being considered. Romania needs part of this amount for domestic consumption, but plans to export the rest to neighbouring countries. Hungary has already joined the project as a full member of the AGRI project company. The project, including liquefaction facilities in Georgia and the upgrade of an LNG terminal in Romania, would be completed in one to two years after it is agreed by the partners.

AGRI’s main strengths of the project are: the existence at this moment of a large part of the necessary infrastructure, especially the interconnector Romania-Hungary (Arad-Szeged), the flexibility offered by the LNG technology, direct access of Azeri gas to the European market, and last but not least the political support expressed by all four partner countries, the project company explains.