Electricity producers, natural gas market gaining momentum

ELPE’s (Hellenic Petroleum) financial results each quarter serve as a reliable indicator of where Greece’s electricity and natural gas markets stand as a result of the refinery’s interests in the power company Elpedison and DEPA, the Public Gas Corporation.

The electricity market’s troubled standing is made clear by ELPE’s latest results. The sector was affected by advserse conditions throughout most of 2015, except for the final quarter. The abolition of the country’s CAT system and variable cost recovery system, combined with relatively high fuel costs, prompted losses at ELPE.

Net production, in terms of MWh, may have increased by 18 percent in 2015, but sales fell by 15 percent to 181 million euros, the EBITDA figure dropped sharply by 65 percent to 51 million euros, and the company incurred a net loss of nine million euros.

The final quarter, alone, was more positive for ELPE. Gas prices fell drastically as a result of lower fuel prices, which boosted the competitiveness of the company’s natural gas-fueled power stations, leading to increased sales and profitability. Sales increased by 22 percent. This development has raised hopes that the electricity production sector will perform better in 2016.

The heightened activity of electricity production units in the final quarter made positive impact on DEPA as electricity producers rank as its biggest customers. In the last quarter of 2015, DEPA’s sales, in volume terms, increased by an impressive 39 percent to 1.048 billion cubic meters, from 756 million cubic meters during the equivalent period a year earlier. This was the highest quarterly sales figure to be reported by DEPA over the past three years.

Over the course of the entire year, DEPA’s sales reached 3.024 billion cubic meters compared to 2.958 billion cubic meters a year earlier, a two percent year-on-year increase.

DEPA reported lower profit figures both for the entire year and the final quarter of 2015. The gas company’s net profit after taxes fell to 66 million euros from 83 million euros in 2015. Its profit figure in the final quarter dropped to 17 million euros from 20 million euros during the equivelant period a year earlier.