The development of a new LNG terminal in the port of Piombino in Tuscany has received approval from a state-appointed commissioner in Italy, Reuters has reported.

Owned by Italian state-controlled gas grid operator Snam , the proposed floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU) terminal is planned to be built on the western coast of the country.

It is expected to be operational by the end of March next year.

Tuscany President Eugenio Giani was cited by the news agency as saying that Snam is set to start preparatory works for the project infrastructure.

The project forms part of the former government of Mario Draghi’s broader plan to replace declining Russian gas supplies and boost energy security.

Snam confirmed the FSRU will have a 5bcm capacity. The project is subject to several conditions.

Giani added: “Snam expresses satisfaction with the positive conclusion of the authorisation process for the FSRU Piombino Project, which will make a decisive contribution to the security and diversification of the country’s energy supplies.

“It’s reasonable to believe that the conditions put in place are manageable by Snam.”

Snam has agreed to keep the FSRU docked for three years in Piombino. The firm has 45 days to indicate the offshore area to move the FSRU afterwards.

However, the mayor of Piombino confirmed a challenge in court for the approval of the LNG terminal infrastructure.

The Tuscany region is also seeking hundreds of millions of euros in investments to allow for the development of a new LNG terminal, reported Reuters.