Despite being regarded as pivotal infrastructure for the country’s energy sector, a prospective underground gas storage facility at a depleted offshore gas field south of Kavala has remained stagnant in recent months, prompting fears that the required momentum needed for utilizing related wider developments could be lost.
The project’s inclusion on the EU’s PCI list offers financing opportunities, which, according to certain analysts, are crucial for the investment’s sustainability. However, this privilege comes with a strict schedule that must be maintained.
If the underground gas storage project is to qualify for funding offered by the EU’s Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) program, then authorities must submit a related application within 2020.
This essentially means a project promoter must be selected to prepare a business plan and apply for financing, all within the second half of this year.
Also, a tender for the storage facility’s privatization will need to be staged by privatization fund TAIPED by the end of the first half, experienced officials have pointed out.
A joint ministerial decision establishing a legal framework for the facility’s operation will need to precede the sale procedure. In addition, RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, must, prior to the privatization, establish general guidelines determining pricing policy, regulated earnings, WACC, and a minimum capacity vacancy level that investors will need to maintain for national security reasons.
The chances of CEF financing are now starting to tighten up as the month of January is just about gone and there is no sign of a joint ministerial decision. When delivered, it should serve as a catalyst for ensuing initiatives.