Second US firm also eyeing Alexandroupoli LNG station

A second US firm, in addition to the energy company Cheniere, is believed to be interested in joining a consortium for the development and operation of a floating LNG terminal in Alexandroupoli, northeastern Greece, sources have informed.

The US firm, which has requested to remain anonymous – an agreement on this has been signed with its potential partners – as it is a listed firm, would become the fifth member of an envisaged consortium in which members will each hold 20 percent stakes.

DEPA, Greece’s Public Gas Corporation, Cheniere, a Houston-based company specializing in natural gas-related businesses, Gastrade, a Copelouzos corporate group company, and Bulgargaz are the other four prospective partners.

The sources added that Cheniere’s interest to supply natural gas to the southeast European market with Greece as its operating base, expressed late last year, remains strong.

The prospective Alexandroupoli project plan, for which Gastrade was granted a license in 2011, entails developing an LNG storage facility with a 170,000 cubic meter capacity and infrastructure to supply the Greek gas network with 17 million cubic meters of natural gas per day. Investors also want to supply US LNG to the entire Balkan region through the Greek-Bulgarian IGB Interconnector.

If the plan proceeds, DEPA will have gained a new natural gas source, besides Russia, Algeria and Turkey. Russia’s Gazprom, which covers roughly 65 percent of DEPA’s needs, holds a contract with the Greek gas corporation that expires in 2026. DEPA’s contracts with Algeria and Turkey expire in 2021. By utilizing the IGB project, DEPA will also be able to increase its commercial activity in the Balkans.

Over the past few months, Jean Abiteboul, president of Cheniere Marketing Ltd, and George Kokotis, senior manager in portfolio management at the UK branch of Cheniere Supply & Marketing Inc., have held a number of meetings with Greek energy minister Panos Skourletis to discuss the Alexandroupoli plan.