DEPA, pivotal for Greek energy plan, pushing ahead internationally

Through its strategic involvement in an array of pipeline and infrastructure projects, Greek gas utility DEPA is becoming a key driver of Greece’s geopolitical upgrade and the diversification of supply sources for the wider region of South-East Europe.

DEPA is establishing its position in the region through a series of significant international projects such as the acceleration of IGB pipeline construction, participation in the IGI Poseidon pipeline  interconnecting Greece and Italy, and, surely, booking capacity in TAP which, from 2020 onwards, will transport Caspian gas to Europe.

Developments around East Med Pipeline are also rapid, with the most recent being IGI Poseidon’s (the 50% – 50% JV between DEPA S.A. and Edison S.p.A ) BoD decision to fast-track the completion of all pending stages that will bring the project to maturity.  The €70 million Feasibility Study is being accelerated, along with every other stage, to complete the East Med pipeline’s design, which will also pave the way for the final investment decision.

All the above are just one part of DEPA’s multifaceted international activity. Prior to that, in October, a bilateral agreement was signed in Sofia for the start of IGB pipeline construction, a project overseen by ICGB AD, in which DEPA has a 25% stake.

The project is expected to go into operation in July 2021, with an initial capacity of 3 billion cubic meters. At first, the entire load of gas will come from TAP that will go into operation within 2020, delivering Azeri gas to European markets, in which DEPA has booked capacity of 1 billion cubic meters. Thus, through IGB, the company will supply the Bulgarian market with Caspian gas, “breaking” for the first time the existing Russian monopoly.

Another major development took place just yesterday, when the company’s Board of Directors approved the participation of DEPA, with a 20% stake, to the equity of GASTRADE, the company developing the FSRU project in Alexandroupolis.

The Terminal is complementary to the IGB pipeline and consists of an FSRU (Floating Storage Regasification Unit), anchored 10 km off the coastal area of ​​Alexandroupolis, with storage capacity up to 170,000 cubic meters of LNG and 22.7 million cubic meters daily regasification capacity, per day (8.3 billion m3 / year), as well as a 28 km long onshore and subsea pipeline system.

The international presence of the company is also enhanced by the Greek-Italian energy interconnection through the IGI Poseidon pipeline, as well as the CYNERGY program that “breaks” Cyprus energy isolation by establishing a natural gas supply chain in the country.

Apart from its participation in international projects, equally important are the company’s long-term supply contracts with Russian Gazprom, Turkish BOTAS, Algerian Sonatrach, IGSC (Azerbaijan) through the TAP pipeline, as well as the procurement of significant quantities of LNG through the global SPOT market, at competitive prices.

DEPA’s CEO, Konstantinos Xifaras, summed up the company’s international role:

“For thirty years, DEPA has been a leading player in the Balkan energy sector, as well as an integral part of the European strategy for energy diversification and security of supply both of Greece and Europe.

At the same time, by deploying multilayered energy diplomacy and participating in major international projects, DEPA establishes Greece as a regional energy hub and upgrades its economic and geo-strategic importance.”

DEPA’s footprint is solid in the domestic energy market as well, where it recently prevailed in a tender process for natural gas supply to PPC in 2020. The company acknowledged as one of the two bidders, with the ability to supply PPC with 2 million MWh.

Poseidon Med II project for LNG as marine fuel discussed in Nicosia

The achievements and milestones of Poseidon Med II (PMII), an EU co-funded  roadmap aiming to bring about the wide adoption of LNG as a safe, environmentally efficient and viable alternative fuel for shipping and also help East Mediterranean marine transportation propel towards a low-carbon future, was the focus of a recent event at the University of Nicosia.

Participants represented the academic community, students, PMII partners, as well as the EU co- funded project CYnergy.

The event was officially opened by Dr. Theodoros Tsakiris, Director of Energy Studies, School of Business, University of Nicosia, who noted that marine transportation could in fact move to a much cleaner fuel such as LNG.

Maria Fotiadou, Corporate Development Activities Division Head at DEPA, Greece’s gas utility, placed an emphasis on the safety aspects of LNG.

Stefanos Chonianakis, Associate Corporate Development Activities Division of DEPA, delivered a first presentation on what constitutes a holistic LNG supply chain and how this will be brought to life in the area of Eastern Mediterranean through the project’s activities.

Joseph Florentin, PMII Project Manager & Business Development Department Manager of Greek gas grid operator DESFA (Technical Coordinator of PMII), presented a model of the infrastructure at the Revithoussa LNG terminal just off Athens and the conditions required for an efficient LNG bunkering scheme.

The event’s first session was concluded by Antonis Boutatis, Managing Director at Rogan Associates, who addressed the value of investing in LNG infrastructure as well as the work in progress at various participating ports.

The event’s second session was moderated by Dr. Constantinos Hadjistassou, School of Engineering, UNIC who gave the audience an overview of the LNG market developments.

Emphasis on Clean and Green Shipping, especially innovative vessel design and barges, was provided given by Ioannis Bakas, Technical Manager of HELENGI, a company offering LNG engineering solutions. Bakas noted that LNG bunker vessel designs are mature enough to materialize and that the retrofit of LNG designs of existing tonnage are already available and ready for the procurement process.

Anastasia Kouvertari, Project Manager for the EU co-funded project CYnergy on behalf of Hellenic Lloyd’s, offered details on LNG Bunkering regulations in Greece and specifically presented the regulatory status quo, namely the Presidential Decree for LNG Bunkering. Issues like Safety Zones, fire-fighting, training & competence and port and vessel manuals dealing with LNG Bunkering were placed high on the agenda.

The event was concluded with a Q&A session, which triggered a lively discussion, especially on commercial aspects entailing LNG pricing and issues concerning the  training of personnel involved in the LNG bunkering supply chain and active involvement of ministries and authorities.

The Poseidon Med II project involves three countries, Greece, Italy and Cyprus, six European ports, Piraeus, Patras, Lemesos, Venice, Heraklion and Igoumenitsa, as well as the Revithoussa LNG terminal. It has brought together top experts from the marine, energy and financial sectors to design an integrated LNG value chain and establish a well-functioning and sustainable LNG market.