DEPA network expansion plan given wider exposure by PM

The emphasis being placed by the Greek government on the development of projects to expand the country’s natural gas network was given international exposure several days ago when Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras refered to the objective while delivering a speech on Greek economic growth and production restructuring at the Acropolis Museum in Athens.

Tsipras noted that tenders will soon be staged to launch construction, during the first quarter of 2017, of four significant energy-sector projects concerning natural gas. The budget of these projects amounts to 250 million euros, with funding expected to be provided by the Multiannual Financial Framework 2014-2020, the EU’s funding program supporting cohesion policy.

These projects concern natural gas distribution infrastructure covering six provincial cities in the East Macedonia-Thrace region in the country’s northeast as well as a further six in central Greece.

As has become known, these projects represent part of the strategy set by the board at DEPA, the Public Gas Corporation. The objective is to make natural gas available wherever possible throughout Greece.

DEPA has attempted to expand the country’s natural gas network in the past, but efforts made failed to produce results. International tenders were staged in 2012 and 2013 to draw strategic investors for three new gas supply companies (EPA) – one covering mainland Greece and Evia, another Central Macedonia, and a third Eastern Macedonia and Thrace. But they failed to succeed and stagnancy set in at DEPA.

However, DEPA’s current administration, led by CEO Theodoros Kitsakos since last December, has provided new impetus to the objective of expanding the country’s natural gas network. Kitsakos was recently in Brussels for an event focused on the expansion of natural gas infrastructure in Greece. His activity included talks with the European Comissioner for Regional Policy, Corina Cretu.

The additions to the counry’s natural gas distribution network, expected to be completed by 2021, will add approximately 1,300 kilometers in length to the existing network measuring 450 kilometers.