DESFA 10-yr plan worth €830m includes Ioannina expansion

Gas grid operator DESFA’s latest ten-year development program, revised annually and now uploaded onto its official website for public consultation, includes projects with a total budget of 830 million euros.

The program, covering 2022 to 2031, includes new projects worth 183 million euros, plus projects worth 647 million euros that were included in the previous ten-year plan, covering 2021 to 2030.

The 183 million-euro amount, designated for twelve new projects budgeted at 161 million euros, includes gas network expansions into new areas, the main project here being an extension into northwestern Greece’s Ioannina area from the west Macedonia region in northern Greece, a project worth 156 million euros.

A further 14.5 million euros is planned to be invested in improving, modernizing and maintaining the country’s gas grid.

 

Crisis Management Committee to examine supply security

The Crisis Management Committee is expected to meet within the first fortnight of October to examine the overall situation in the energy market, driving price levels up to exorbitant levels for consumers of all categories.

The committee’s members will discuss the issue of supply adequacy and security for meeting electricity generation needs, primarily.

Electricity, natural gas and CO2 emission prices are skyrocketing, while natural gas shortages are now emerging in EU markets, all as a result of an extraordinary combination of developments in European markets.

For the time being, Greek energy sector authorities – RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy; DESFA, the gas grid operator; and IPTO, the power grid operator – have remained reassuring. Yesterday, RAE president Athanasios Dagoumas noted: “We are not in a state of alarm but are vigilant.”

Overall natural gas consumption is expected to increase in 2021. Consumption was 14 percent higher in the first half compared to the equivalent period a year earlier, DESFA data has shown.

Gas demand rose in July and August to meet increased electricity generation needs and is also expected to be elevated this coming winter.

In Greece, approximately 60 percent of natural gas consumption results from electricity generation. The ongoing withdrawal of coal-fired power stations and greater reliance on fluctuating RES output is expected to lead to a further increase in demand for natural gas.

Local authorities have pointed to Greece’s natural gas source diversification, made possible by the Revythoussa LNG terminal and TAP, both offering alternative solutions, as crucial in the effort to manage the current energy crisis.

Higher steel prices increase project costs in DESFA’s development plan

Gas grid operator DESFA’s latest development plan, covering 2022 to 2030, includes project cost increases as a result of higher steel prices in international markets, sources have informed.

The plan, carrying national-grid upgrade, reinforcement and expansion projects, is expected to be forwarded to RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, within October.

It will then undergo two rounds of public consultation procedures, the objective being for RAE to have approved the development plan by the end of the year.

 

Five hydrogen project proposals make cut for IPCEI contention

Five Greek hydrogen production project proposals have been included in a first-round list submitted by the government to the European Commission for inclusion in its Important Projects of Common European Interest (IPCEI) category, reserved for projects promising important contribution to economic growth, jobs and competitiveness.

The five Greek project proposals, approved by energy minister Kostas Skrekas and development minister Adonis Georgiadis, were selected from 23 proposals submitted by companies for contention following an annoucement by the two ministries last April.

The short list of proposals is planned to be assessed by the European Commission in November for a place on the IPCEI list, ensuring EU support funds.

The list features the 8 billion-euro White Dragon project – involving the country’s biggest energy groups with gas company DEPA Commercial as head coordinator – for a hydrogen producing facility in northern Greece’s lignite-dependent west Macedonia region; the White Dragon-linked Green HiPo project of Advent Technologies; the H2CEM hydrogen project by cement producer TITAN; the BLUE MED project, for eco-friendly blue hydrogen production, by Motor Oil and gas grid operator DESFA; as well as the H2CAT hydrogen storage and transportation project by B&T Composites.

Network users to cover 50% of South Kavala UGS project cost

RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, has approved guidelines specifying how the development cost will be shared for an underground natural gas storage facility (UGS) at the almost depleted natural gas field of “South Kavala” in the Aegean Sea’s north, thereby settling one of the main regulatory issues that remained for an ongoing tender offering use, development and operation of the facility.

According to the RAE decision, 50 percent of the project’s cost will be passed on to gas network users. As for the other 50 percent, 35 percent is expected to be covered through EU funding, assuming the project is included on the EU’s Projects of Common Interest (PCI) list, while the remaining 15 percent will be taken on by the eventual investor.

In the event that the UGS is excluded from the EU’s PCI list, the Greek State will consider becoming a project partner so that the cost for gas network users is not increased.

DESFA-GEK TERNA and Energean Oil & Gas have advanced to the second round of a project tender staged by privatization fund TAIPED.

The almost depleted natural gas field, where the UGS will be developed, is located 18 km south of the main coastline of Kavala, roughly 6 km west of the island Thasos, at a sea depth of 52 meters.

Revythoussa truck loading station soon, LNG jetty in 2022

The development of a truck loading station at the Revythoussa islet LNG terminal just off Athens will be completed and launched by the end of the year, energypress sources have informed.

Also, a new small-scale LNG jetty to serve the truck loading station, and, amongst other things, contribute to LNG bunkering at the nearby Piraeus port, will be ready in autumn next year, the sources added.

The truck loading station is part of gas grid operator DESFA’s ten-year development plan that includes a category for small-scale LNG project installations, worth 40.5 million euros.

According to the ten-year development plan, the new small-scale LNG jetty, budgeted at 20.4 million euros, will be installed at the northeastern section of Revythoussa.

DESFA has already applied for funding support through the National Strategic Reference Framework (2014-2020) that would cover 50.42 percent of the small-scale LNG jetty’s cost.

 

 

DEPA: CNG, LNG supply in remote areas must be competition-based

Gas company DEPA Commercial has objected to a RAE (Regulatory Authority for Energy) proposal calling for the development of distribution networks at remote areas for CNG and LNG supply, noting, in related public consultation, that such a move would not reflect international practices, according to which CNG and LNG compression and transportation activities are taken on by suppliers based on free market competition conditions and prospects.

The RAE proposal for CNG and LNG distribution networks covering supply in remote areas is extremely restrictive and does not allow for alternatives that would facilitate greater competition and reduced costs for consumers, DEPA Commercial contended.

Also, any decision to develop virtual pipeline networks in remote areas should serve as a temporary solution and ensure that the normal development of distribution networks is not undermined, DEPA Commercial noted.

Gas grid operator DESFA, in its contribution to the public consultation procedure, noted that if a virtual pipeline network is regarded as part of the national grid, then this would help boost social welfare, minimize any potential burden on existing gas consumers, and maximize the positive impact of natural gas penetration in Greece.

 

 

Gas network for west, expected in 2023, to be supplied LNG

A natural gas network to cover western Greece’s provincial cities Patras, Agrinio and Pyrgos and scheduled for completion in 2023 will carry LNG to be transported from gas grid operator DESFA’s Revythoussa islet terminal close to Athens.

Regional authority Nekatrios Farmakis has just authorized the project’s entry into the Regional Operation Program (2014-2020) for Western Greece, an important step for this gas network’s development. Work on the project is expected to begin within 2021.

The project, being co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), is budgeted at 21.3 million euros. The gas network will seek to attract business, industrial as well as household consumers.

To be developed by gas distributor DEDA, the new network will run a total distance of approximately of 208 kilometers and be equipped with a metering and regulation station (M/R) for its supply to Patras.

Power producer LNG orders unaffected by higher gas prices

Increased natural gas prices in international markets have not restrained LNG imports at gas grid operator DESFA’s Revythoussa islet terminal just off Athens, data provided by the operator has shown.

LNG orders at the Revythoussa terminal for the two-month period covering August and September, placed primarily by power producers, seeking international market opportunities to subdue fuel costs, as well as gas company DEPA, total more than 742,000 cubic meters, the DESFA data showed.

This quantity represents six LNG tanker loads, ordered by as many key domestic natural gas market players for the two-month period.

Two loads, the first for power utility PPC and Motor Oil Hellas, and the second for Elpedison, arrived during the first half of August. A third tanker carrying LNG orders placed by Mytilineos and Heron will follow this month, bringing August’s LNG orders total at the Revythoussa terminal to 376,000 cubic meters.

Three more LNG shipments are scheduled to arrive at the Revythoussa facility in September. The first of these concerns orders placed by PPC and Motor Oil Hellas totaling 146,000 cubic meters. The second shipment will be for a 73,000-cubic meter order placed by DEPA, while the third concerns a 147,000-cubic meter order made by Elpedison.

Natural gas prices have remained high in international markets, currently about triple the price of levels in March.

DESFA forced to revise project budgets as metal prices rise

Gas grid operator DESFA is being forced to reevaluate its budget for projects included in its existing ten-year development plan and set for inclusion in its forthcoming updated plan as a result of rising metal commodity prices in international markets, which have impacted the cost of gas pipelines and other equipment.

Metal price levels are projected to remain elevated in the foreseeable future. As a result, DESFA officials are striving for solutions that may prevent the transfer of increased project costs to consumers, and also subdue, to the greatest degree possible, additional project costs for the company.

DESFA is expected to deliver its updated ten-year development plan, covering 2022 to 2031, in September, according to sources.

The updated plan will not unveil any surprises in terms of the projects included, the sources added. A gas pipeline project linking the Epirus region in Greece’s northwest with the country’s grid is expected to be added to the DESFA list.

Two options for this project are being considered. One option entails the development of a pipeline from Ptolemaida, northern Greece, to Ioannina, in the northwest, and the other, the construction of a storage facility at the northwestern port of Igoumenitsa, from where a pipeline would run to Ioannina.

 

 

DESFA: NER North Macedonia pipeline agreement, market test next month

Two further important steps in the lead-up to the construction of a natural gas pipeline linking the Greek and North Macedonian grids are expected to be made in September.

DESFA, Greece’s gas grid operator, and North Macedonia’s energy sources company NER are expected to sign an agreement next month as a follow-up to an agreement signed a month ago by the energy ministers of the two countries in Lagonisi, east of Athens.

The latest agreement will stipulate technical issues, as well as guarantees, concerning the new pipeline, paving the way for tenders concerning the project’s development.

In addition, also in September, DESFA and NER also plan to stage a market test that will determine the commercial feasibility of the project. The two sides want to ensure the existence of a sufficient number of buyers for gas quantities planned to be transported through the pipeline.

The Greek section of the gas pipeline, budgeted at 51.4 million euros, is planned to stretch 54 kilometers. The North Macedonian section will cover a 100-km distance.

A September 13 registration deadline has been set for a tender concerning the procurement of steel pipelines for the project. Also, a draft of the tender concerning the project’s construction has been forwarded for public consultation until August 16.

 

DESFA looks to biomethane, hydrogen, plans grid investments

Greek gas grid operator DESFA plans to invest in biomethane and hydrogen infrastructure to be in a position to utilize these eco-friendly gas options and avoid being impacted by the energy transition.

DESFA’s experienced European gas companies holding stakes in the Greek operator believe green biomethane technologies are more developed and mature compared to those available for hydrogen.

Snam, Enagas and DESFA’s other shareholders – Fluxys, Damco – have set as a primary objective to “decarbonize the natural gas chain”.

DESFA officials are in talks with universities, market authorities, as well as Greek enterprises to develop biomethane pilot programs.

More projects such as the White Dragon project – bringing Greece’s biggest industrial corporations closer for major investments in electrolytic hydrogen production by means of solar energy from photovoltaic parks – can be expected next winter, officials anticipate.

If the White Dragon project is approved, DESFA plans to upgrade its existing natural gas network in order to be able to receive hydrogen production, transport from the country’s north to south, channel to TAP and, via TAP, transport to the EU.

DESFA’s share of the White Dragon project, estimated between 30 and 35 percent of the cost, is expected to reach 1.5 billion euros, of which one billion euros – if the project is approved – will concern the development of new infrastructure for hydrogen transmission through the Greek gas network, measuring 1,466 km.

DESFA considering 2 options for gas transportation to Epirus

Gas grid operator DESFA is examining two alternative solutions for the transportation of natural gas to Greece’s northwestern region of Epirus, one of the company’s most important projects of its ten-year development plan covering 2022 to 2031, still not finalized.

One option being considered by DESFA is an extension of a gas pipeline in west Macedonia, northern Greece, from Ptolemaida all the way to Ioannina, the Epirus prefecture’s capital.

The other solution being considered entails the development of an LNG terminal at Igoumenitsa port, from where a 50-km gas pipeline would be constructed into the Epirus region.

The options will undergo public consultation for comments and observations by market players before RAE, in conjunction with DESFA, decides which of the two will be implemented.

DESFA aims to finalize its ten-year development plan covering 2022 to 2031 within the summer before delivering it to RAE in September.

Operators react against RAE’s net profit deduction proposal

Market operators have disapproved a proposal by RAE, the Regulatory Authority of Energy, to deduct a percentage of their net profit from non-regulated activities, contending this would act as a growth disincentive.

Gas grid operator DESFA’s chief executive Maria Rita Galli expressed the company’s concerns earlier this week, during a press conference, following preceding disapproval by power grid operator IPTO just hours earlier in public consultation focused on a formula for the calculation of permitted and required ESMIE (electricity transmission system) revenue.

The DESFA chief executive told reporters the operator is currently in talks with RAE for an agreement that would satisfy both sides.

Deducting a percentage of net profit from operators represents an older approach that has generally been abandoned today, Galli pointed out. Subjecting DESFA to such a deduction would put the operator in a disadvantageous position compared to other companies.

RAE has informed this disputed deduction would be used for the benefit of electricity transmission system users.

IPTO has proposed that the authority’s deduction be limited to outlays made for non-regulated services.

Energy exchange gas platform to be presented Monday

The energy exchange is nearing an expansion through the addition of a new trading platform for natural gas market products, scheduled to be presented by the Hellenic Energy Exchange and gas grid operator DESFA this coming Monday.

Related public consultation, already in progress, is planned to run until the end of August.

Until now, the Greek energy exchange has only facilitated electricity market trade.

The energy exchange, in association with DESFA, has been working on the new gas market platform since last year, the aim being to launch it within 2021.

The exchange’s new gas platform is expected to help establish Greece as a trading hub of geostrategic and geopolitical significance.

EDA THESS and DESFA: Ambitious cooperation with a lot of perspectives

The fruitful cooperation between the National Transmission System Operator and the Distribution Company was the main topic raised in the meeting held at the Company’s premises between the CEO of DESFA, Mrs Maria Rita Galli and the General Manager of EDA THESS, Mr. Leonidas Bakouras.

During the meeting, Mr. Bakouras had the opportunity to stress one of the main strategic pillars of the company that is to ensure the safe and uninterrupted distribution of natural gas.

The CEO of DESFA and the General Manager of EDA THESS discussed about the issues that concern the operation and maintenance of transmission and distribution networks.

The focal point of the meeting was the emerging opportunities and perspectives for further collaboration between the two operators. The great potential to enable the integration of renewable gases such us biomethane blending with natural gas was highlighted. The ultimate goal to ensure security of supply was shared, with the aim of continuously improving the services provided to the users and end consumers.

Moreover, the need for further cooperation in the conduction of preparedness drills, was discussed, by combining scenarios with high level escalation of events that could lead in general crisis in the network. The aim is to enhance the safety-oriented effectiveness of the response mechanism for the involved structures of the two operators and to promote the coordination with the Authorities and co-competent bodies.

Concluding, promoting the sustainability of natural gas networks in alignment with the targets set by the energy roadmap 2030- 50 is a common view.

(photo: The CEO of DESFA, Mrs. Maria Rita Galli with the General Manager of EDA THESS Mr. Leonidas Bakouras) 

 

 

DESFA pipeline agreement with North Macedonia’s MER in July

Gas grid operator DESFA expects ongoing negotiations with North Macedonia’s energy sources company MER, for a cooperation agreement concerning the construction of a natural gas pipeline linking the two countries, will be successfully completed in July, enabling the staging of a market test for the project, whose Greek segment will run north from Thessaloniki’s Nea Mesimvria area.

DESFA plans to stage a market test for the pipeline in early autumn, assuming its cooperation agreement with MER is signed in July.

The cooperation agreement will commit both sides to the project’s construction, serving as a road map for its development and also specifying responsibilities to be taken on by DESFA and MER.

RAE, Greece’s Regulatory Authority for Energy, has set conditions, demanding a market test, and its successful outcome, in order to give the green light for construction of the Greek segment.

Apart from the cooperation agreement to be signed between DESFA and MER, the governments of Greece and North Macedonia plan to sign a corresponding bilateral agreement concerning the interconnection of the two countries through the project.

The details of this bilateral agreement are just about ready and have already been submitted to the European Commission for approval, Greek energy minister Kostas Skrekas told a recent conference.

Brussels’ approval is needed for North Macedonia to qualify for Western Balkans Investment Framework (WBIF) support funds for its segment of the gas pipeline.

The Greek segment, budgeted at 51.4 million euros, will cover a 57-km distance.

DESFA participating in talks for European Hydrogen Backbone

Greek gas grid operator DESFA is one of the participants in early talks for the establishment of a European Hydrogen Backbone, along with 22 fellow operators representing a total of 21 countries.

A latest report, published last month, notes that this network of pipelines can cover a total of 11,600 kilometers by 2030, to service emerging hydrogen markets, and 39,700 kilometers by 2040, with prospects for further expansion beyond this date.

Total investments estimated between 43 and 81 billion euros will be needed to develop the 39,700 kilometers of the hydrogen network pipelines.

Upgrades of existing pipeline networks, to enable the transportation of hydrogen, will account for 69 percent of the investment cost, while the other 31 percent concerns the development of new pipelines.

According to the plan, Greece’s two main industrial hubs, Athens and Thessaloniki, will be linked, by 2040, to the new hydrogen pipelines, to run alongside existing gas infrastructure. Alternatively, an upgrade of the existing gas pipelines, also seen as an option, will depend on market conditions.

DESFA’s Alexandroupoli FSRU entry on Vestager agenda

The European Commission’s pending approval of gas grid operator DESFA’s acquisition of a 20 percent stake in Gastrade, the company established by the Copelouzos group for the development and operation of the Alexandroupoli FSRU, a floating LNG terminal planned for Greece’s northeast, is expected to be on the agenda of an Athens meeting this Thursday between energy minister Kostas Skrekas and the European Commission’s Vice-President Margrethe Vestager, also Brussel’s Commissioner for Competition.

The Greek government considers the Alexandroupoli FSRU to be a pivotal energy supply source for Greece and the EU.

Gastrade’s other participants are awaiting Brussels’ approval of the DESFA entry so that they can go ahead with an investment decision and commence its development.

European Commission approval of DESFA’s participation in the Alexandroupoli FSRU is necessary as the company is the operator of Greece’s gas grid and, by acquiring a 20 percent of Gastrade, would also gain entry into an independent gas system.

The DG Comp’s endorsement of the DESFA entry is seen as a formality following Brussels’ recent approval of the entry of Bulgaria’s Bulgartransgaz as a fourth member of the Gastrade consortium, also with a 20 percent stake.

Greek enterprises face April 27 date for hydrogen project proposals

Leading Greek energy players are gearing up to participate in a European Commission effort concerning the development of the continent’s first major investments in eco-friendly hydrogen production, a key aspect in Brussels’ decarbonization drive.

Interested parties face an April 27 deadline to submit proposals concerning a number of categories, including PCI-supported sustainable low-emission hydrogen production, the emphasis placed on RES-generated hydrogen.

The White Dragon project, as it has been dubbed, has brought Greece’s biggest industrial corporations closer, as they prepare to jointly bid for project categories Brussels will subsidize in the context of the Hydrogen Europe program.

The White Dragon project provides for investments of 2.5 billion euros in electrolytic hydrogen production by means of solar energy from photovoltaic parks with a capacity of 1.5 GW. They are planned for northern Greece’s west Macedonia region, a lignite-dependent economy.

Gas utility DEPA, gas grid operator DESFA, petroleum group Motor Oil, the Mytilineos group, Terna, Hellenic Petroleum ELPE, Polish company Solaris, as well as the Demokritos National Center for Scientific Research and the Center for Research and Technology Hellas (CERTH) are taking part.

The hydrogen to be produced will be used for district heating, fuel to be exported via the Trans Adriatic Pipeline, and as fuel for large vehicles such as lorries and buses.

 

DEPA Commercial pushing to mature RES licenses in time for auction

Gas company DEPA Commercial, currently placing emphasis on its alternative business interests, is making efforts to bring to maturity solar energy licenses in time for an upcoming RES auction. These PV licenses concern solar farm projects representing a total capacity of 499.61 MW.

Late in January, DEPA Commercial announced it had acquired a 49 percent stake in North Polar, a special purpose vehicle (SPV) established on the basis of a portfolio carrying solar energy project certificates and production permits. These licenses concern projects in northern Greece’s west Macedonia region.

DEPA Commercial and its SPV partner have submitted environmental terms for these projects and are now expecting their connection terms.

The partners are striving to participate in the next RES auction to be staged by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, the first to be held under new terms expected to soon be approved by the European Commission.

On another front, DEPA Commercial is closely monitoring developments regarding the Alexandroupoli FSRU in northeastern Greece, another of its project interests.

DEPA Commercial holds a 20 percent stake in Gastrade, a company established by the Copelouzos group for the development and operation of the Alexandroupoli FSRU.

The European Commission’s Directorate-General for Competition still needs to approve Greek gas grid operator DESFA’s entry into the consortium, also with a 20 percent stake, to be taken from the Copelouzos group’s current 40 percent share in the Alexandroupoli FSRU venture.

The Brussels authority’s endorsement of DESFA’s entry is seen as a formality following its recent approval of the entry of Bulgaria’s Bulgartransgaz as a fourth member of the consortium, also with a 20 percent stake. Gaslog is the other consortium member, also holding 20 percent.

The DESFA entry approval is anticipated within the second quarter. Gastrade’s partners are then expected to swiftly follow with an investment decision on the Alexandroupoli FSRU’s construction.

Motor Oil ‘Dioryga Gas’ FSRU on DESFA 10-yr plan, set to roll

Approval by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, of gas grid operator DESFA’s ten-year grid development plan, covering 2021 to 2030, with the inclusion of petroleum group Motor Oil’s “Dioryga Gas” FSRU project, 1.5 km southwest of the company’s refinery in Korinthos, west of Athens, paves the way for this unit’s actualization.

Motor Oil anticipates the FSRU, promising to offer yet another natural gas entry point to the domestic system, can be launched by the end of 2023.

To accept LNG via sea routes, the floating storage regasification unit’s capacity is estimated at 2-3 bcm per year.

The “Dioryga Gas” FSRU project was incorporated into DESFA’s ten-year development plan following amendments to a preliminary plan, made once an agreement had been reached between the gas grid operator and Motor Oil.

This agreement ended a dispute between the two sides over the project’s absence from the operator’s ten-year plan. Motor Oil protested against the FSRU’s exclusion, expressing its disapproval to DESFA as well as RAE.

The project’s inclusion on DESFA’s ten-year plan will enable Motor Oil to take investment decisions needed for its development.

The petroleum group is currently also examining the regulatory and commercial frameworks concerning the project with the aim of offering optimal services to users. Motor Oil intends to stage a market test in 2021.

The “Dioryga Gas” FSRU project will ease the saturation pressure on Greece’s other FSRU, on the islet Revythoussa, just off Athens, reinforce gas supply to the Greek market as the country’s LNG storage capacity will increase by 80 percent, and also facilitate further penetration of natural gas in remote parts of the country.

EastMed alliance broadens, eight countries express support

Support for the EastMed pipeline, planned to transport natural gas from offshore Levantine Basin gas reserves in the southeast Mediterranean to Greece and further into Europe, is growing in numbers with an initial Greek-Israeli-Cypriot alliance promoting this project now joined by five additional partners, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Serbia and North Macedonia.

Energy ministers representing these eight countries forwarded a letter of support for the EastMed project to the European Commissioner for Energy Kadri Simson late last week, Greece’s energy and environment minister Kostas Skrekas has told local media.

The pipeline, to be developed by IGI Poseidon SA, a 50-50% joint venture between Greek gas utility DEPA and Italian gas utility Edison, is planned to cover a 1,470-km distance.

IGI Poseidon plans to develop EastMed all the way to Italy via Cyprus, Crete, the Peloponnese, mainland Greece and Epirus, the country’s northwestern flank.

This latest move, bringing the eight energy ministers together for the joint letter, was initiated by Skrekas, Greece’s energy minister, sources informed, following an initiative taken two months earlier by his Israeli counterpart Yuval Steinitz to organize a joint virtual conference involving ministers of all eight countries.

In their letter to Simson, the EU energy commissioner, the eight ministers highlight the importance of EastMed, noting the project promises to contribute to the wider region’s energy security and offer benefits to consumers as a result of increased competition and reduced natural gas price levels.

Regional gas interconnections, including the Greek-Bulgarian IGB, Bulgarian-Serbian IBS, Bulgarian-Romanian IBR and the Romanian-Hungarian IRH would be utilized to extend EastMed’s reach, the letter notes.

Greece and North Macedonia are currently planning a new gas pipeline interconnection whose Greek segment is being promoted by gas grid operator DESFA.

DESFA 2021-30 plan endorsed, west Macedonia, Patras pipelines included

Gas grid operator DESFA’s ten-year development plan for 2021 to 2030, featuring projects budgeted at over 500 million euros in total, including pipelines in the country’s west Macedonia and Patras regions, has been approved by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy.

Speaking at the 2nd Power & Supply Forum, on online event staged earlier this week by energypress, DESFA’s chief executive Maria Rita Galli pointed out that this amount is double that of the previous plan and includes 54 projects through which the company will strive to contribute to strengthening Greece’s role as a regional energy hub.

The west Macedonia pipeline, a new entry to the ten-year plan, is budgeted at 110 million euros and planned to cover a 130 km distance in northern Greece.

Despite not being included in the national recovery plan for subsidy support, DESFA is prepared to develop this project with company reserves and loans.

Even if developed without subsidy support, the eventual cost of the west Macedonia pipeline for gas consumers will be spread out into limited amounts if gas demand in the region is high, as is anticipated.

Power utility PPC’s chief executive Giorgos Stassis, another energypress forum participant, informed that the company’s prospective Ptolemaida V lignite-fired power station will have converted to natural gas by 2025.

The conversion promises to boost the facility’s capacity, which will increase its consumption and add to the west Macedonia gas pipeline’s feasibility.

The gas pipeline planned for Patras, budgeted at 85 million euros, will cover a distance of approximately 140 km, from Megalopoli, in the central Peloponnese, to the western city’s industrial zone. Patras’ industrial sector is expected to ensure strong demand for natural gas.

The Patras project could, in the future, be extended to reach other cities on Greece’s west side, such as Pyrgos, western Peloponnese, and Agrinio, in the northwest.

 

Desfa-Gek Terna, Energean to S. Kavala UGS tender 2nd rnd

DESFA-GEK TERNA and Energean Oil & Gas have advanced to the second-round, binding-offers stage of a tender offering use, development and operation of an underground natural gas storage facility (UGS) in the almost depleted natural gas field of “South Kavala”, while China’s CMEC-MAISON GROUP failed to qualify, privatization fund TAIPED has announced in a statement.

Following the signing of confidentiality agreements, the two qualifiers will be granted access to the tender’s virtual data room, where financial and technical data will be uploaded for due diligence procedures.

However, much work lies ahead before this project matures to enable the submission of binding offers. A number of regulatory issues remain pending, officials monitoring developments have informed, describing the project as complex and highly technical.

Pending issues include determining the percentage of the UGS’s capacity to be regulated for pre-determined earnings, and the percentage of capacity whose earnings will be shaped by market forces. The regulatory period and WACC level also need to be decided and set.

Given these tasks, as well as obstacles raised by the pandemic, binding offers are not expected to be submitted any sooner than late-2021. The final stage of this tender appears most likely to take place early in 2022.

Ministry seeks recovery fund aid for west Macedonia gas pipeline

Development of a high-pressure gas pipeline in west Macedonia, in the country’s north, which would enable the country’s gas grid to be extended to the area, is among the energy ministry’s proposals for EU recovery fund inclusion.

Though still too early to tell if this project will become eligible for financial support through this fund, it should be pointed out that the European Commission is generally hesitant about backing natural gas-related projects.

The project’s inclusion, or not, in a national recovery and resilience plan being prepared by a special energy-ministry committee, currently filtering proposals by this ministry and other ministries, stands as a crucial test that could determine whether the west Macedonia gas pipeline project will become eligible for EU recovery fund support.

A national plan’s finalized list is expected within the next few days before it is forwarded, by early April, to the European Commission, whose approval will be needed.

The energy ministry is also seeking 300 million euros through the recovery fund for the redevelopment of the power utility PPC’s mining areas in west Macedonia, a lignite-dependent economy.

Regardless of whether the west Macedonia high-pressure gas pipeline plan will qualify for EU recovery fund support, gas grid operator DESFA appears determined to move ahead with the project, budgeted at 110 million euros and constituting part of the country’s decarbonization strategy.

The new National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF) could serve as an alternative financing source, while DESFA will also consider company cash reserves and a bank loan if necessary.

 

DESFA’s Alexandroupoli FSRU entry awaiting DG Comp OK

Gas grid operator DESFA’s agreement, last November, for the acquisition of a 20 percent stake in Gastrade, the company established by the Copelouzos group for the development and operation of the Alexandroupoli FSRU, a floating LNG terminal planned for Greece’s northeast, requires, as its final step, approval from the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Competition, to officially make the operator the consortium’s fifth member.

DG Comp approval of DESFA’s agreement is needed as the operator, managing Greece’s gas transmission system, is entering an independent gas system through its agreement to buy a Gastrade stake.

The DG Comp’s endorsement of the anticipated DESFA entry is seen as a formality following its recent approval of the entry of Bulgaria’s Bulgartransgaz as a fourth member of the consortium, also with a 20 percent stake.

A finalized investment decision by Gastrade for the development of the Alexandroupoli FSRU is expected this spring. The unit’s launch is scheduled for the first half of 2023.

The FID will enable the procurement procedure for the project’s equipment to go ahead, beginning with the floating unit, for which a Gastrade tender has already been completed.

A preferred bidder has also been declared for the FSRU’s subsea-and-overland pipeline, to link the floating unit with the country’s gas grid.

Bids for a tender offering a contract for the design, procurement and construction of the project’s fixed mooring system were submitted in late-February.

Talks are still in progress, at a diplomatic level, for the possible entry into the Alexandroupoli FSRU by North Macedonia’s state gas company, through the acquisition of a 10 percent stake from Gastrade. The outcome of these talks will not affect the project’s development.

DESFA to push ahead with west Macedonia gas pipeline

Gas grid operator DESFA is determined to push ahead with the development of a natural gas pipeline in northern Greece’s west Macedonia region, a project budgeted at 110 million euros, either with financial support from the EU’s current National Strategic Reference Framework or other financing solutions, including bank loans, if the project is ultimately excluded from EU recovery fund support.

Though a finalized decision on the list of projects to receive EU recovery fund support has not been reached, DESFA, according to energypress sources, will proceed with this pipeline project, part of the operator’s ten-year development plan for 2021 to 2030, totaling 545.5 million euros.

In examining its financing options for this gas pipeline project, DESFA will take decisions based on containing network usage fees to be paid by consumers.

The European Commission and European Investment Bank (EIB) no longer finance conventional gas-based infrastructure projects, unless eco-friendly hydrogen is incorporated into their plans. Even so, the west Macedonia gas pipeline has been included in the recovery fund catalogue as the project is linked to the post-lignite era.

Possessing a clearly developmental role with multiple benefits for the wider region, the pipeline represents part of the energy transition plan for west Macedonia, a lignite-dependent local economy, as it will help replace lignite-based energy, contribute to growth, and support the region’s industry.

The pipeline, to stretch 130 km, could be swiftly licensed, DESFA officials believe, as long as its financing plan is settled and municipal and regional authorities acknowledge the region’s gas penetration need. The pipeline’s delivery was forecast for within 2023 before questions concerning the project’s financing emerged.

Man Energy Solutions to support Terna for LNG truck-loading station

German company Man Energy Solutions has signed an agreement with construction company Terna to help with the development of a truck-loading station at gas grid operator DESFA’s LNG terminal on the islet Revythoussa, just off Athens.

Man Energy Solutions will take on the task of fully constructing infrastructure needed for the management of LNG supply, through trucks, to customers.

Commenting on the agreement, Thanassis Papaioannou, head of Man Energy Solutions’ Department of Machines and Electricity Units in Greece, noted: “We are very pleased to bring our knowhow in the LNG domain to [the] DESFA [terminal], joining forces with TERNA, one of the leading construction companies in the country. The actualization of this project will create new growth opportunities in areas where natural gas networks do not exist – that is, access to gas.”

Just days ago, it was also announced that DESFA has reached a finalized investment decision on the development of a small-scale LNG jetty at the Revythoussa terminal, as an addition to the facility’s LNG truck-loading station, contributing, amongst other things, to the emergence of LNG bunkering at the nearby Piraeus port.

DESFA focusing on gas pipeline for west Macedonia network

Gas grid operator DESFA and energy ministry officials are currently discussing financing options that could be sought for the operator’s plan to develop a gas pipeline needed to facilitate a gas network expansion in northern Greece’s west Macedonia region, energypress sources have informed.

DESFA is awaiting approval by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, for its ten-year development plan, worth more than 545 million euros, including the gas pipeline project.

The talks between DESFA and the energy ministry officials are focused on public funding possibilities, primarily European, to cover part of the cost of the gas pipeline, which would ultimately help contain the level of network usage tariffs to be covered by consumers.

Local officials anticipate this network expansion plan should qualify for EU development fund support, even though EU policy generally does not favor gas projects, as it clearly represents a development project that promises multiple regional benefits, including replacement of lignite-based energy, on the way out as a result of the country’s decarbonization strategy.

Besides the EU recovery fund, officials in Greece are also considering the prospects of financial support from the EU’s National Strategic Reference Framework or a number of regional development programs.

The gas network expansion plan in the country’s west Macedonia region will require the development of a 130-km gas pipeline from Trikala, in the mainland’s mid-north, a project budgeted at 110 million euros.

According to sources, DESFA has revised an original pipeline route plan, bringing the pipeline closer to cities where medium and low-pressure networks for households and businesses are to be developed by gas distributor DEDA.