LNG plan for Greece’s north, US interest to supply confirmed

The country’s plan for a floating LNG terminal in northern Greece, most probably in Alexandroupoli, to include the corporate involvement of DEPA, the Public Gas Corporation, as well as the USA’s strategy to establish an LNG terminal in the country’s north and supply LNG to the wider region have all been confirmed as plans in the making by Greek Energy Minister Panos Skourletis.

The prospect of Greek-American collaboration for LNG supply to Greece and the wider Balkan region has been reported in more recent times. An official announcement is expected to be made during an upcoming visit to Athens, in mid-November, by US Secretary of State John Kerry.

The plan is expected to be developed through a consortium involving Gastrade, a company belonging to the Copelouzos corporate group, DEPA, and US company Cheniere Energy.

If the plan proceeds, it will mark the first time a US firm is exporting LNG derived from shale gas. Cheniere Energy has already sealed deals for other European markets.

Once stored at the prospective Alexandroupoli LNG terminal, American LNG will reach neighboring Bulgaria through the IGB interconnector, another plan in the making, and carry on to other east Balkan countries. An LNG terminal in Adria, Croatia, appears to be the likeliest option for US LNG supply to the western Balkans.

The overall plan, which could establish Greece as a regional energy hub, had been discussed by Kerry and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras during a recent official visit by the latter to the USA.

Development of the plan would signify further progress of a US strategy, backed by the EU, to significantly reduce southeast Europe’s dependence on Russian gas.

The Alexandroupoli LNG terminal would facilitate an alternative option to Russian gas long before the arrival of the TAP (Trans Adriatic Pipeline) project, to supply Europe’s southeast with Azeri gas.