Cheniere officials in Athens for IGB, LNG project meetings

A team of highly-ranked executives of US energy company Cheniere, primarily active in LNG-related businesses, is in Athens for a series of talks with officials at the energy ministry, the Copelouzos corporate group, and DEPA, the Public Gas Corporation, seeking gas supply deals for the Greek market, as well as Bulgaria, through the prospective Greek-Bulgarian IGB interconnector.

Cheniere is believed to have received offers for a role in the local gas market and inclusion in a consortium to construct a floating LNG terminal in Alexandroupoli, northeastern Greece, a project undertaken by Gastrade, a member of the Copelouzos corporate group. Both Gastrade and DEPA have approached Cheniere for its participation in this project’s development, according to sources.

Cheniere has yet to respond to the Alexandroupooli project request but the arrival of company officials in Athens for today’s meetings signifies that a definite interest exists. No details concerning any prospective partnerships are known at this stage.

The American company is also expected to examine the prospect of utilizing the IGB pipeline if an appropriate gas demand level is determined in the Bulgarian market. A finalized investment plan for the IGB project was signed between Greek and Bulgarian officials in Sofia last week.

Interestingly, Cheniere yesterday replaced its chief executive and co-founder, Charif Souki. The change comes at a time when the US company is preparing to export LNG beyond the US market for the first time.

According to a Bloomberg report, the change was prompted by activist investor Carl Icahn’s increased stake in Cheniere over the past four months, which has provided him with two seats on the company board.