Storengy’s Kavala UGS tender exit prompts formation changes

A decision by France’s Storengy (Engie) to not participate in a forthcoming tender offering an underground natural gas storage facility (UGS) license for the almost depleted South Kavala offshore natural gas field in the country’s north has prompted a domino effect of formation changes by groups of investors planning to bid.

GEK TERNA appears to have formed an association with gas grid operator DESFA for the tender after having previously agreed to join forces with Energean Oil & Gas and Storengy.

Energean Oil & Gas, holding a license for the virtually depleted South Kavala field, has not remained an onlooker. The company has also found a partner, believed to be domestic, from the construction sector, according to sources.

To date, Energean Oil & Gas has held talks with three major groups, Mytilineos, AVAX and Aktor, the same sources added.

A Chinese investor is also believed to be interested in the South Kavala UGS tender, staged by privatization fund TAIPED, but will not link up with any partners.

The tender is offering rights for the use, development and exploitation of the virtually depleted offshore natural gas field south of Kavala as a UGS facility for a period of up to 50 years.

Participants must submit first-round, non-binding offers by October 19 following three deadline extensions.

Solid bidder turnout for DEDA east Macedonia, Thrace gas network tenders

Five construction companies and one consortium have taken part in the first two tenders staged by gas distributor DEDA for the development of gas distribution networks in Xanthi/Drama and Alexandroupoli/Komotini, respectively, in Greece’s north and northeast.

Key Greek construction firms such as Aktor, Avax and Intracom were among the bidders, sources informed. Newcomers and older companies also took part in the tenders, totaling 33.4 million euros, including Edil Hellas, Ergo ATE and Vermion ATEE-Sourla Bros ATEBE.

The level of participation on the two tenders was described as satisfactory by DEDA’s managing director Marios Tsakas and a vote of confidence for the gas company’s ambitious plans to broaden the coverage of networks in provincial Greece.

DEDA covers all parts of Greece not represented by fellow DEPA Infrastructure subsidiaries EDA Attiki, covering the wider Athens area, and EDA THES, covering Thessaloniki and Thessaly.

Project contracts with winning bidders could be signed by the end of the year so that construction work of the new networks can begin early in 2021 in all four provincial cities, sources said.

Avax, Aktor, Ergo ATE, Edil Hellas, Vermion ATEE-Sourla Bros ATEBE and Intracom took part in the DEDA tender for the development of gas networks in the Xanthi and Drama areas, budgeted at 17.1 million euros.

Avax, Aktor, Ergo ATE, Edil Hellas and Intracom also took part in the Alexandroupoli/Komotini tender, budgeted at 16.3 million euros.

The two regional projects are being funded by own funds, loans and business development funds for the east Macedonia and Thrace regions.

Gas distribution networks totaling at least 200 kilometers for 4,066 connections concerning all gas consumer categories by 2024 are planned for the Xanthi and Drama areas.

As for the Alexandroupoli and Komotini areas, the DEDA plan entails construction of gas distribution networks totaling 170 kilometers for at least 5,279 connections by 2024.

DEDA plans to launch new tenders next month for construction of gas networks in Orestiada and Kavala, northern Greece, sources said.

Overall, the new gas distribution networks planned by DEDA in the six provincial cities are budgeted at 56.6 million euros, plus 24% VAT, and will provide a total of 496,000 kilometers of mid and low-pressure gas supply lines for at least 15,000 consumer connections of all categories.

DEDA is also planning tenders next month for gas network projects in central Greece and the central Macedonia region.

Step closer to establishment of natural gas market in Cyprus

The multinational consortium of JV China Petroleum Pipeline Engineering Co Ltd, AKTOR S.A. and METRON S.A., with Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding Co. Ltd and Wilhelmsen Ship Management Limited has emerged as the preferred bidder in a tender for the construction of infrastructure required for the introduction of natural gas in Cyprus, authorities announced today.

The project’s planned LNG import terminal includes a Floating Storage Regasification Unit (FSRU), a jetty for the mooring of the FSRU, jetty borne and onshore pipelines as well as additional facilities.

The LNG Import Project is co-financed by a grant from the EU Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) financing instrument.

The tender’s result is the outcome of a lengthy and complex tender process overseen by DEFA in cooperation with external industry experts, amongst whom were highly experienced technical, legal, commercial and financial experts.

The preferred bidder needed to satisfy a series of qualitative, quantitative and financial criteria so as to be able to demonstrate an ability to perform at the high standards set by DEFA regarding the development of the Cyprus natural gas market infrastructure.

The winning consortium is soon expected to be invited to Nicosia for the finalization of the process and the signing of the contracts with ETYFA (Natural Gas Infrastructure Company).

A number of consortiums featuring major companies active both in Europe and internationally participated in the tender process.

DEFA Chairman, Dr. Symeon Kassianides commented: “We are pleased to see the successful outcome of the process. Here at DEFA we believe that the future of the country is aligned with natural gas and we expect it to play a major role in the economic development of the country in years to come. The establishment of the natural gas market will boost the development of the whole energy and industry sectors of the Republic.”

Offers soon for IGB gas pipeline project tenders, nearing completion

Three tenders offering contracts for Greek-Bulgarian IGB gas grid interconnector’s project manager, pipeline procurement and construction are approaching completion.

Offers for the tender to appoint a project manager, to monitor development on behalf of shareholders, are expected this month.

Greece is well represented in the tender concerning the construction of the IGB pipeline, planned to cover a 182-km stretch and budgeted at 145 million euros. A total of five consortiums with three Greek firms on board have advanced to this tender’s second round.

Germany’s Max Streicher has teamed up with Greece’s Terna; China Petroleum Pipeline Engineering has joined forces with Aktor; and J&P Avax is the third local qualifier. Their bids are expected next week.

ICGB, the IGB project’s consortium, a joint venture involving YAFA Poseidon – a Greek gas utility DEPA half-owned subsidiary – and the state-controlled Bulgarian Energy Holding (BEH), plans to have appraised these offers within a month before announcing a preferred bidder at the end of April.

The IGB is planned to be linked with the TAP route, offering Bulgaria and the wider southeast European region access to Caspian gas as well as LNG.

 

Plan for new Vevi mine tender jeopardizes Meliti II project

Energy minister Giorgos Stathakis has disclosed an intention to not have endorsed in Greek Parliament an agreement reached in 2014 by a previous administration’s ministry and Aktor granting the latter exploitation rights of a coal deposit in Vevi, northern Greece, but, instead, launch a new international tender from scratch.

This development greatly threatens the possibility of CMEC (China Machinery Engineering Corporation) taking on a project to develop Meliti II, a second coal-fired power station for the main power utility PPC in the Meliti area, close to Florina in the country’s north. The Chinese firm’s involvement in the Meliti II project is seen to be highly unlikely if coal supply is not ensured.

“The energy ministry reminds that the segment of the Vevi coal mine offered through non-transparent procedures to private investors without an international tender will be reoffered through a legal procedure,” the energy ministry noted in a statement released today.

An agreement signed in 2014 between the energy ministry of the time and Aktor never made it to Greek Parliament for ratification as a result of snap elections that led to political change. The Syriza party was brought to power as the key partner of the country’s coalition.

The Bobolas group, which owns a 25 percent stake of Aktor parent company Ellaktor, a Greek construction giant, has repeatedly pushed for the finalization of the Vevi mine agreement’s pending Parliamentary approval.

PPC-CMEC deal resurfaces pending Vevi mine rights issue

Yesterday’s Memorandum of Understanding signed by main power utility PPC and China’s CMEC (China Machinery Engineering Corporation) for joint development of a second lignite-fired power station in Meliti, close to Florina, northern Greece, could serve as the vehicle to provide leading Greek corporation Aktor the rights to exploit the region’s major Vevi coal mine. The licensing procedure was bogged down by the country’s political transition that brought the Syriza party into power early in 2015.

Aktor, belonging to construction and media magnate George Bobolas, was the highest bidder in a tender for the Vevi mine’s rights. Aktor’s portfolio includes mining, quarrying, construction and photovoltaics.

“We will hold a discussion with the Prime Minister [Alexis Tsipras] during our meeting tomorrow [today] so that the Vevi matter may be cleared up,” PPC president Manolis Panagiotakis told journalists following yesterday’s MOU signing ceremony as Aktor’s deputy Dimitris Koutras listened on.

Aktor, along with the GEK Terna Group, whose CEO Giorgos Peristeris also attended yesterday’s signing ceremony, will join the PPC-CMEC Meliti power station venture the PPC chief noted yesterday.

Access to the major mine in Vevi, estimated to hold 60 percent of the area’s total lignite deposit, is essential to the PPC-CMEC partnership’s prospective power station, which would be fed by this deposit. The Greek-Chinese plan entails including the mine as an asset in the consortium to be established for the project.

The plan for Meliti II entails development of a 450-MW power station at a cost of 750 million euros. Necessary work needed at the regional mines to feed the facility will raise the cost to one billion euros. PPC is believed to be open to the prospect of becoming a junior partner in this venture.

According to energypress sources, Bobolas, Aktor’s chief, has repeatedly called for the Vevi mine deal’s finalization, requiring parliamentary approval. The MOU signed with CMEC is expected to provide the impetus required.

As the winning bidder for the Vevi mine’s rights, Aktor had signed an agreement with the previous administration’s environment and energy ministry in 2014, but it was not endorsed in parliament as a result of the ensuing elections.