LNG tanker, an energy security measure, on way to terminal

An LNG tanker leased by DEPA, the Public Gas Corporation, planned to dock at the LNG terminal on Revythoussa, an islet just off Athens, as an emergency gas storage facility during the high-demand winter months, is expected to arrive tomorrow or Friday.

The tanker will be used to help maintain a regulation requiring gas-fueled electricity producers to be prepared to operate for five consecutive days if needed by the system. This regulation has not been implemented to date. It was scrapped about seven years ago when the LNG terminal’s storage capacity was deemed inadequate to support the measure.

Certain electricity production units – Elpedison’s two units and a smaller facility run by Heron – have been designed to be able to switch from natural gas to petrol, if necessary.

All other licensed units in operation have agreed to maintain LNG reserves so as to be able to function for five consecutive days.

The five-day reserves requirement will now apply for all electricity production units not equipped to switch from gas to petrol.

The LNG tanker plan, expected to safeguard the country against a repeat of last winter’s energy crisis, is estimated to cost approximately 6 million euros. The measure will be covered through the reimposition of a special supply security surcharge previously included on consumer gas bills.

The surcharge was lifted following the accumulation of a surplus worth between 9 and 10 million euros. Consumers can expect this surcharge to soon reappear on their natural gas bills. It will be maintained until the coffers at DESFA, the natural gas grid operator, are sufficiently filled to cover the cost of the precautionary LNG tanker measure.

Industrial enterprises linked to the demand response mechanism (interruptability) – it enables them to be compensated when the TSO (ADMIE/IPTO) requests that they shift their energy usage by lowering or stopping consumption during high-demand peak hours so as to balance the electricity system’s needs – will be exempted from the supply security surcharge.

Meanwhile, market players have reacted strongly against an additional measure that will require suppliers and producers to sign gas supply contracts for extended periods of roughly two and a half months.