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.