PPC chief travels to China today for meetings with key officials

The main power utility PPC’s chief executive Manolis Panagiotakis will travel to China today for a series of important meetings with head officials at SGCC (State Grid Corporation of China), CMEC (China Machinery Engineering Corporation), the Shenhua group and CDB (China Development Bank), all linked to possible dealings with the Greek power utility.

Panagiotakis, who is believed to have angered European Commission officials as a result of his intention to develop two new carbon-fired power stations, not including Meliti II, as joint ventures, a prospect that runs contrary to terms in the Greek bailout, will update Chinese officials on Greece’s energy-sector developments and also present his future vision for PPC.

The PPC chief has noted that, on this trip, he will present the utility’s market prospects in the wake of the bailout measures, the utility’s lignite-fired electricity production prospects, as well as his insistence on free CO2 emission rights for PPC from the European Commission.

The government’s position on state-controlled PPC issues, given related bailout requirements, remains undecided, utility officials have noted. PPC officials believe the European Commission may agree to exempt the utility’s existing carbon-fired power station Meliti I, as well as the prospective Meliti II, from a bailout-required unit sale package the utility will need to soon prepare.

Prospective buyers will not express an interest in the Meliti II license without access to the nearby Vevi mine, PPC officials anticipate. Energy Minister Giorgos Stathakis recently announced a new tender will be held for rights to part of the Vevi mine.

The outcome of Panagiotakis’s talks with CMEC president Zhang Chun will be pivotal as the two officials have already extensively discussed collaborating on the Meliti II project.

PPC officials are counting on an older commitment from Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, who described Meliti II’s development as a “vote of confidence for the Greek economy”.

Panagiotakis is accompanying Tsipras on this China visit, coinciding with a Beijing conference, the Belt and Road Forum. PPC officials hope the prime minister will underline that the Meliti II project remains alive. PPC officials have not ruled out developments during the Greek delegation’s stay in China.