Energy crisis spurring plans for gas infrastructure projects

The establishment of gas storage infrastructure, as part of the local energy market’s strategic planning, has developed into a top-priority issue for the country’s energy ministry.

This direction is largely due to the ongoing supply crisis in the energy market, especially the gas sector, a situation which, amongst other things, has highlighted the need to be able to store natural gas, a fuel considered certain to play a key role in Greece’s future energy mix, even if coal remains a pivotal factor.

Energy ministry officials are currently assessing the respective situations of projects related to the strategy, the aim being to accelerate their progress.

Information is being gathered on projects concerning an upgrade of the LNG terminal on Revythoussa, an islet just off Athens, as well as the addition of a floating LNG facility at this terminal; the development of a gas storage facility at the Gulf of Kavala in northern Greece; as well as the construction of a Floating Storage Regasification Unit (FSRU) in Alexandroupoli, northeastern Greece.

Energy ministry officials consider delays experienced in the development of a third LNG tank at the Revythoussa facility as inexcusable. This project, commissioned by DESFA, the natural gas grid operator, was originally scheduled to be completed by the end of 2016 but major delays are  expected. The addition of a third tank stands to increase the facility’s capacity from 130,000 cubic meters to 225,000 cubic meters. This alone will increase market competition as users will be able to store gas at Revythoussa for as many 28 days, up from the present limit of 18 days.

The energy ministry now holds a far more favorable view of a plan entailing the transformation of a depleted gas deposit in the Gulf of Kavala into an underground gas storage facility. The ministry wants this project to be reclassified as an EU Project of Common Interest (PCI), which would facilitate funding.

The prospective FSRU in Alexandroupoli is a private-sector venture and will entirely depend on the progress of the Greek-Bulgarian IGB pipeline.

An idea to dock a floating LNG tanker with a capacity of around 120,000 cubic meters at the Revythoussa terminal and use it as a storage facility was prompted by the ongoing energy crisis. A low-cost solution estimated at between 10 and 15 million euros, it would not take long to set up and launch.