Major changes seen on all energy sector fronts in 2019

The new year could bring about major developments in Greece’s energy market, still in gradual transition from its previous state-controlled centralized model towards a more competitive market. A large number of institutional changes are expected to be completed in 2019, while, on an entrepreneurial level, the roles and momentum of new players are growing.

On the privatizations front, the ELPE (Hellenic Petroleum) sale, for which two pairings, Glencore-Carlyle and Vitol-Sonatrach, are preparing to submit binding bids for a 50.1 percent stake, is expected to be completed within the first quarter.

A draft bill entailing gas utility DEPA’s split into two new companies representing its infrastructure and commercial interests is expected to be submitted to parliament for approval in January, ahead of its privatization.

The main power utility PPC’s privatization is further down the road. The sale of lignite units must first be completed.

This sale will be pivotal for the future of the country’s NOME auctions, planned to be phased out as long as all goes according to plan with the sales of PPC’s Meliti and Megalopoli lignite-fired power stations.

Three or four suppliers are expected to end up dominating the retail electricity market following mergers and takeovers in 2019 and 2020.

The RES auctions to be staged in 2019 are eagerly anticipated following two sessions held in 2018. They were not problem-free.

In the natural gas sector, the TAP project’s construction is scheduled for  completion this year. Meanwhile, authorities are close to starting work on the Greek-Bulgarian IGB interconnection pipeline.

Developments are also favorable for the development of a floating LNG terminal in Alexandroupoli, northeastern Greece, following the expression of solid entrepreneurial interest.

Prospects in the oil sector are also exciting as drilling ventures could be staged in new areas this year, beginning with the Gulf of Patras.