Alexandroupoli FSRU on track for early-2024 launch

Development of the Alexandroupoli FSRU at the country’s northeastern port is progressing steadily and set for an on-schedule launch by the end of January, 2024, energypress sources have informed.

Tanker conversion work being conducted for the FSRU at Singapore’s Keppel Shipyard was 87.1 percent ready at the end of August, meaning all basic equipment, including burners and gasifiers, has been installed, the sources added.

Representatives of Gastrade, the consortium established by the Copelouzos group for the development and operation of the Alexandroupoli FSRU, visited the Keppel Shipyard just days ago.  The consortium’s chief executive, Kostis Sifneos, headed the visiting group.

The consortium’s members – the Copelouzos group’s Elmina Copelouzou, Gaslog Cyprus Investments Ltd, DEPA Commercial, Bulgartransgaz and Greek gas grid operator DESFA, all holding 20 percent shares – plan to soon hold a meeting to discuss the project’s steps leading to its launch, the sources added.

The FSRU vessel is expected to be ready to set sail for Alexandroupoli in mid-November, before reaching its destination in early December.

The Alexandroupoli FSRU, to offer a 153,500-m3 LNG capacity, will be connected to Greece’s gas network via a 28-km pipeline, through which gasified LNG will be distributed to the domestic market, Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia, North Macedonia, Hungary, Moldova and Ukraine.

The project will serve as a new energy gateway promising to play a key role in the energy security and independence of Greece as well as central and southeast Europe.

Gastrade decides on additional Alexandroupoli FSRU by 2025

Gastrade, the consortium established by the Copelouzos group for the development and operation of the Alexandroupoli FSRU, a floating LNG terminal planned for Greece’s northeast, has reached a decision to also install an additional FSRU unit at the location, expected to be completed in 2025, as a follow-up to the first terminal, set for completion in 2023.

The consortium’s decision for an additional FSRU in Alexandroupoli had been in the making from as far back as last summer, when the energy crisis was at its early stages, but was accelerated by the long-term turmoil now seen in relations between the west and Russia following the latter’s invasion of Ukraine last week.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has further highlighted the need for Europe to reduce its dependence on Russian gas as soon as possible. A completely new reality now appears to be in the making.

Southeastern Europe’s gas needs to result from Europe’s reduced energy dependence on Russia, through strategic diversification, has increased the prospect of Greece’s northeast becoming an energy hub that would facilitate gas exports in all directions, including to Ukraine.

The Gastrade consortium is comprised of five partners, founding member Elmina Copelouzos of the Copelouzos group, Gaslog Cyprus Investments Ltd, DEPA Commercial, Bulgartransgaz, and DESFA, Greece’s gas grid operator, each holding 20 percent stakes.

All five partners have agreed to offer 2 percent each so that North Macedonia can enter the consortium with a 10 percent stake.

DESFA joining Alexandroupoli FSRU, development imminent

Gas grid operator DESFA is set to sign a contract next week for the acquisition of a 20 percent stake in Gastrade, the consortium established by the Copelouzos group for the development and operation of Alexandroupoli FSRU, a floating LNG terminal planned for Greece’s northeast, energypress sources have informed.

The European Commission offered its approval of DESFA’s entry into the Gastrade consortium approximately three weeks ago. The endorsement was needed as DESFA, operator of Greece’s gas grid, will also be entering an independent gas system by acquiring a 20 percent of Gastrade, making the operator the fifth member of the consortium.

Besides the Copelouzos group, currently holding a 40 percent stake, the Gastrade consortium is also made up of Gaslog Cyprus Investments, a fully owned subsidiary of Gaslog Ltd, owning and operating over 35 LNG tankers; Greek gas utility DEPA; and Bulgartransgaz, each holding 20 percent stakes. DESFA’s entry will give all partners equal 20 percent shares.

A finalized investment decision on the Alexandroupoli FSRU is expected within the first few days of 2022 so that the project can be developed and ready for launch within 2023.

The Alexandroupoli FSRU has, for years, been included on the EU’s projects of common interest (PCI) list, making the prospective facility eligible for favorable EU funding support, as its actualization will contribute to energy source diversification and also bolster energy security and competition in the wider region.

The Alexandroupoli FSRU will become the country’s fourth entry point for natural gas. It is planned to supply up to 944,000 cubic meters of natural gas per hour, or 8.3 billion cubic meters annually, and offer an LNG storage capacity of 170,000 cubic meters.

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.

Alexandroupoli FSRU 2Q investment decision, work to start in ’21

The shareholders of Gastrade, a company founded by the Copelouzos Group for the development and operation of the Alexandroupoli FSRU planned for Greece’s northeast, are gearing up for an investment decision, expected in the second quarter, ahead of the beginning of the project’s development, anticipated within the current year.

Gastrade’s shareholders will most likely make an investment decision in May, sources informed.

The consortium’s shareholders are currently awaiting final administrative details that will formalize the entry into Gastrade of Bulgaria’s Bulgartransgaz and DESFA, the Greek gas grid operator.

Last week, Thanassis Dagoumas, the head official at RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, approved the transfer of a 20 percent Gastrade stake from the Copelouzos Group’s Asimina Eleni Copelouzou to the Bulgarian gas company.

Copelouzou now controls 40 percent of Gastrade, with three stakeholders, Gaslog, DEPA Commercial and Bulgartransgaz each holding 20 percent.

Within the next few weeks, the RAE chief is also expected to endorse a further 20 percent transfer from Copelouzou to DESFA, giving the consortium’s five partners equal shares of 20 percent each.

Gastrade has already announced a tender offering an EPC contract for the floating LNG terminal in Alexandroupoli. Participants face a February 18 deadline.

An investment decision promises to push forth engineering studies, including geotechnical, as well as the order of a floating vessel for the project during the year. The FSRU will be completed in 2023, Gastrade shareholders have announced.

The shareholders appear receptive to the idea of North Macedonian involvement in the Gastrade consortium. They are awaiting bilateral developments at a diplomatic level, sources informed.

North Macedonia involvement in key Alexandroupoli projects

North Macedonia plans to help cover its energy needs through an involvement in two Greek-based projects, the prospective FSRU in Alexandroupoli, northeastern Greece, and, in the same region, a gas-fueled power station to run on LNG stemming from the floating LNG terminal.

Much progress has been made on the neighboring country’s interest in these two projects since a meeting in Athens last September between Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and his North Macedonian counterpart Zoran Zaev. The partnership also represents a strategic decision for the Greek government.

It is considered certain that a state-owned North Macedonian company will soon enter the Alexandroupoli FSRU project’s equity pool with a 10 percent stake, energypress sources have informed.

This project’s five current partners – Copelouzos group, Gaslog, Greek gas utility DEPA, Greek gas grid operator DESFA and Bulgartransgaz – are expected to each offer small portions of their respective 20 percent stakes to make available a 10 percent stake for the state-owned North Macedonian company in the Alexandroupoli FSRU.

The project’s development is not expected to be impacted by any equity reshuffles.

Two international tenders staged by Gastrade, a company established by the Copelouzos group for the development and operation of the Alexandroupoli FSRU, have been successfully completed. One of the two tender concerns the FSRU’s construction. The other concerns the installation of pipelines linking this facility to the national gas grid.

The Alexandroupoli FSRU consortium is expected to make a final investment decision in late February, sources informed.

On the other front, ESM, North Macedonia’s state electricity company, is expected to acquire a 25 percent stake in a gas-fueled power station to be developed by Damco Energy, a Copelouzos group subsidiary, in Alexandroupoli’s industrial zone.

The initiative will secure 200 MW of the facility’s 800-MW capacity for North Macedonia. The country currently has an electricity deficit of approximately 2 GWh.

Bulgarian state-owned electricity company NEK EAD also appears interested in acquiring a stake in the Alexandroupoli power station. Bulgaria has projected an electricity deficit a few years from now as the country must phase out major lignite-fired power stations. European Commission exemptions extending the lifespans of these units are expiring.

DESFA one step away from Alexandroupoli FSRU entry

Just days after the entry of Bulgaria’s Bulgartransgaz, Greek gas grid operator DESFA appears set to become the fifth member of Gastrade, the company established by the Copelouzos group for the development and operation of the Alexandroupoli FSRU, a floating LNG terminal envisioned for Greece’s northeast.

Talks concerning a DESFA entry, ongoing since the beginning of this year, have essentially concluded, while an announcement of the operator’s entry into Gastrade’s line-up is expected soon, no later than the end of September, energypress sources informed.

DESFA’s interest to join the consortium for the Alexandroupoli FSRU project, the first ever private-sector plan for such infrastructure in Greece, reflects the intention of the company’s new ownership and administration to broaden DESFA’s role from gas grid operator to a major player in Greece’s natural gas market.

As for Gastrade, keen to establish partnerships that support its strategic objectives, DESFA’s expected entry into the Alexandroupoli FSRU consortium appears to have been encouraged as a result of the operator’s knowhow, as a TSO, in LNG and the Greek gas market, its players, as well as the legal framework.

DESFA’s entry would also give the Greek State a stake in the Alexandroupoli project, supported for years by the previous and current Greek governments.

Besides the Copelouzos group, holding a 40 percent stake, the Gastrade consortium is currently also made up of Gaslog, Greek gas utility DEPA, and Bulgartransgaz, each holding 20 percent stakes. The entry of a fifth member will give all partners equal 20 percent shares.

The project, budgeted at 380 million euros, is expected to be launched no later than early 2023.

The Alexandroupoli FSRU, along with the existing Revythoussa islet LNG terminal just off Athens, are crucial given the current strains in Greek-Turkish relations as the two units represent the country’s only gas infrastructure not relying on Turkish territory.

The LNG terminals also promise to increase competition in the regional market and reduce natural gas supply costs to neighboring countries.

A market test was successfully completed for the Alexandroupoli FSRU in March.

Alexandroupoli FSRU investment decision later in ’20

Investors behind the Alexandroupoli FSRU are expected to make final decisions on the project’s development in the final quarter of this year.

Two pending issues, the completion of a regulatory framework for the project, as well as approval by the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Competition of the project and funding via the National Strategic Reference Framework (2014-2020), are expected to be resolved by the final quarter.

Also, RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, is soon expected to reach a preliminary decision exempting the FSRU from compulsory access to third parties as well as tariff adjustments every three to four years. This decision, needed for the project’s regulatory framework, is expected by late October or early November, when the European Commission’s approval is anticipated.

The Directorate-General for Competition will also need to give the green light for NSRF funding.

Once these pending issues are all resolved, investors will be able to decide on the project’s development, expected to require two years to construct. Investors envision a launch in 2023.

Yesterday’s anticipated entry of Bulgartransgaz, for a 20 percent stake, highlights the project’s regional prospects. This regional dimension will be highlighted even further if ongoing Romanian interest is materialized.  Talks that have been going on for some time were disrupted by the pandemic.

For the time being, Greek gas utility DEPA, Gaslog and Bulgartransgaz each have 20 percent stakes, while the Copelouzos group holds a 40 percent share. The entry into the project of Gastrade, as a fifth partner, remains pending.

Most crucial for the project’s prospects, a market test completed in March showed that the Alexandroupoli FSRU is sustainable. The test prompted a big response from Greek and international gas traders, who placed capacity reservation bids for a total of 2.6 billion cubic meters per year.

US interest for LNG supply via the Alexandroupoli FSRU is strong. Last year, Cheniere sold a big shipment to Greek gas utility DEPA, while a further ten American shipments have been made so far this year.

Revythoussa at full capacity in May, 10 LNG orders scheduled

A total of nine LNG shipments are scheduled to be delivered to the Revythoussa islet terminal just off Athens in May, taking the facility to full capacity for yet another month, data provided by gas grid operator DESFA has shown.

Three LNG tankers are scheduled to bring in three big orders for a total of ten recipients in May.

The inflow has already begun. Last week, the Maran Gas Ulysses, a tanker belonging to the Aggelikousis group, imported 149,254 cubic meters for four buyers, Motor Oil, Heron, gas utility DEPA and Mytilineos, whose share, 74,627 cubic meters, was the biggest.

The next shipment, scheduled to be delivered to the Revythoussa terminal on May 20 by the Gaslog tanker belonging to the Livanos group, will deliver 147,710 cubic meters of LNG for Elpedison and power utility PPC, taking the bigger share of the two buyers, 127,031 cubic meters.

A third and final LNG shipment for the month is scheduled to arrive May 31 on the British Saphire tanker, owned by BP. This vessel will bring in 121,123 cubic meters of LNG for DEPA and Elpedison, the bigger of the two buyers with a 64,993 cubic-meter order.

A total of five big LNG shipments are expected in June for orders placed by Mytilineos, Elpedison and DEPA.

Alexandroupoli FSRU market test extension until March 10

A second-round market test offering capacity reservations for the prospective Alexandroupoli FSRU has been granted a deadline extension until March 10 to give newly emerged bidders more time to prepare for binding bids.

The Copelouzos group’s Gastrade, heading this LNG venture for Greece’s northeast, is determined to maximize the participation level of bidders and  capacity reservations in order to secure the project’s sustainability.

Besides the capacity reservation total, the duration of reservations is the other crucial factor determining the project’s sustainability. Gastrade would like to see reservations lasting 10 to 15 years instead of shorter periods.

Gastrade officials are confident the market test will produce a favorable outcome and soon propel the project towards construction.

The line-up of the Gastrade-initiated consortium for the Alexandroupoli FSRU appears to have been completed as a five-member team following a decision by Romania’s state-controlled gas company Romgaz to enter with a 20 percent stake. A related contract is expected to be signed within the next few days.

If the Romgaz entry is confirmed, the consortium’s line-up will consist of the Copelouzos group (20%), GasLog (20%), Greek gas utility DEPA (20%), Bulgartransgaz (20%) and Romgaz (20%).



Alexandroupoli FSRU awaiting Bulgarian, Romanian decisions

Gas utility DEPA’s recent decision to enter the prospective Alexandroupoli FSRU project consortium with a 20 percent stake leaves two more vacancies for the line-up’s completion and internationalized establishment.

The venture’s consortium, formed by the Copelouzos Group’s Gastrade, is now awaiting entry decisions from Bulgaria’s BulgarGasTrans as well as Romania’s Rompetrol, seriously examining the prospect of acquiring a 20 percent stake in this prospective LNG terminal project in Greece’s northeast.

Gaslog, active in LNG transportation, was the first partner to join Gastrade with a 20 percent stake in the consortium.

Gastrade is now preparing to stage a binding second-round market test for capacity reservations. RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, has approved Gastrade’s procedure inviting participants to bid.

This second-round bidding phase is expected to be completed by the end of January, paving the way for a finalized investment decision by the project’s developers.

The first round’s non-binding expression of interest phase was completed at the end of last December.

A total of 24 bidders had expressed interest for 12.2 billion cubic meters, more than double the planned facility’s annual regasification capacity of 5.5 bcm.



Alexandroupoli FSRU 2nd-round market test ready for launch

Gastrade, heading an effort for the development of an FSRU in Alexandroupoli, northeastern Greece, is preparing to launch a binding second-round market test.

RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, has approved the procedure’s finalized texts concerning participation terms and conditions, indicative tariffs, schedules and a capacity reservation model for the LNG terminal.

The second-round market test could be completed by the end of January, it is anticipated. This would pave the way for a final investment decision by the company while a concurrent effort is made to finalize the venture’s equity make-up.

Besides the Copelouzos group, the venture’s initiator, GasLog, active in LNG transportation, is also on board with a 20 percent stake. A final decision by gas utility DEPA on its participation, also with a 20 percent stake, remains pending.

DEPA’s prospective involvement in the Alexandroupoli FSRU project, considered a certainty, has been passed on to DEPA Trade, a new entity established in preparation for DEPA’s privatization.

A final decision by Bulgarian Energy Holding (BEH) concerning its possible entry with a 20 percent stake is also pending.

An effort offering the remaining 20 percent is in progress. Candidates include Romgaz, Romania’s biggest natural gas producer and main supplier in the domestic market. The company’s shareholders recently voted to enter the Alexandroupoli FSRU project.

“We are very optimistic. We believe we will do better than what we need to in order to make the final investment decision,” Gastrade’s chief executive Costis Sifneos noted recently.

Greece’s decarbonization program, announced recently by the government, will bring about major changes to the country’s energy mix, according to Sifneos. He expects the domestic natural gas market to grow from its current size of 4.5 billion cubic meters, annually, to 7 billion cubic meters over the next 5 to 7 years.

The Greek gas market has grown by 17 percent this year alone, while, for the first time, LNG quantities exceeded pipeline gas.

Copelouzos’ DESFA 6.6% buy inspection ready by September

RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, expects to complete its inspection of the Copelouzos group’s entry into gas grid operator DESFA early in September, enabling the agreement’s completion.

Earlier this month, the Copelouzos group’s Damco agreed to buy a 10 percent stake of Senfluga, a consortium formed by Snam, Enagas and Fluxys for the acquisition of a 66 percent stake of DESFA last year. This promises to offer Damco a 6.6 percent share of DESFA.

RAE’s endorsement could be delayed beyond early September if the authority requests further details on the agreement, some sources warned.

Damco’s decision to acquire a 6.6 percent stake of DESFA, officially announced on August 5, signals the Copelouzos group’s interest for a wider association with Snam, Enagas and Fluxys in international infrastructure projects.

The Senfluga consortium was established with Snam as its main shareholder, holding a 60 percent stake, joined by Enagas and Fluxys, each with 20 percent stakes.

The Copelouzos group, in association with Gaslog, an international LNG carrier run by Panagiotis Livanos, has launched an effort for the development of an FSRU in Alexandroupoli, northeastern Greece. Greek gas utility DEPA, its Bulgarian peer Bulgartransgaz, and private investors are also expected to become involved in this project.

Highlighting the domestic natural gas market’s growing potential, DESFA is also eyeing an imminent tender for the development of an underground gas storage facility at a depleted natural gas field in the offshore South Kavala region.


Strong reservation interest for Alexandroupoli LNG terminal

A market test for an FSRU project planned for development by Gastrade in Alexandroupoli, northeastern Greece has drawn greater than expected interest from traders for capacity reservations, who expressed interest for a level totaling one and a half times the planned LNG terminal’s full capacity.

A further increase of significant magnitude is expected as a number of major trading firms have requested and been given a deadline extension of a few days to prepare all needed documents for their expressions of interest. The market test’s new deadline has now been extended to December 31.

The overwhelming level of interest ensures the project’s sustainability as well as the development interest of its partners. It also reflects the need of regional countries for alternative natural gas sources as well as an anticipation of a more significant role to be played by LNG in the global energy mix.

Besides the gas utility DEPA and Bulgarian Energy Holding (BEH), two companies whose interest in Alexandroupoli FSRU capacity is already widely known, all major traders, Hungarian and Serbian firms, as well as Greece’s main power utility PPC emerged to express interest, according to sources.

Without a doubt, the project, granted PCI status by the European Commission, is politically supported at national, European and cross-Atlantic levels.

According to Gastrade, the project will be ready by the end of 2020. DEPA and BEH are soon expected to be inducted into the project’s consortium as partners. At present, it appears the consortium will be comprised of five partners, each holding 20 pecent stakes – Gaslog, DEPA, BEH, Gastrade and a fifth still-unknown partner.

First round of crucial market test for Alexandroupoli FSRU launched

Shareholders at Greek gas company Gastrade, seeking to co-develop an FSRU project in Alexandroupoli, northeastern Greece, will need to make final investment decisions following a market test, whose first round, entailing non-binding expressions of interest, was launched yesterday.

Binding bids, for FSRU capacity reservations, will be made in the procedure’s follow-up round.

Granted PCI status by the EU, the Alexandroupoli FSRU is being widely supported, politically, at national, European and cross-Atlantic levels.

Greek gas utility DEPA and Bulgaria’s BEH are both seen as market test certainties. Plans are now at advanced stages for both to each hold 20 percent stakes in a consortium for the Alexandroupoli FSRU’s development. Final approvals for the consortium entries of both are anticipated but still pending.

The emergence of other players, for FRSU capacity reservations, will be pivotal for the project’s development prospects. Gastrade and its project partners will be hoping to see the emergence of key international players aiming to supply gas to the wider region, including US gas exporters, firms associated with the prospective Greek-Bulgarian IGB link, including Serbian, as well as traders operating in the region.

For quite some time now, there has been talk of a US firm entering the Alexandroupoli FSRU consortium with a 20 percent stake. Cheniere has been named as a possibility but another undisclosed US contender is also believed to be in the running.

The Alexandroupoli FSRU consortium was initiated by Gastrade, a member of the Copelouzos group, before Gaslog, an international LNG carrier, also joined. At present, Gastrade holds a 40 percent stake and Gaslog holds 20 percent. DEPA and BEH are also expected to acquire respective 20 percent stakes, while any newcomer is expected to take on half of Gastrade’s current stake.

Surprise US player may enter Alexandroupoli FSRU team

An additional member, possibly a major US player, could join a consortium for the development and operation of an FSRU project in Alexandroupoli, northeastern Greece, with a 20 percent stake, in addition to DEPA, the public gas corporation, and Bulgaria’s BEH, both preparing to also enter the project’s corporate team.

Technical details are now being worked on by the Bulgarian government for the entries of DEPA and BEH to the Alexandroupoli FSRU’s consortium. It was initiated by Gastrade, a member of the Copelouzos group, before Gaslog, an international LNG carrier, also joined.

The government in Sofia is expected to offer its approval within the current month. Once this stage is completed, the consortium will be comprised of Gastrade (40%), Gaslog (20%), DEPA (20%) and BEH (20%). The additional entry being touted would acquire half of Gastrade’s stake, giving all members equal stakes.

Cheniere, the dominant player of the US natural gas market, and another unnamed American enterprise, regarded as a surprise candidate, are both being touted as possible additions to the Alexandroupoli FSRU consortium.

The addition of a non-American enterprise has also been mentioned as Gastrade is believed to be engaged in talks with major traders showing an increasing interest in the specific region.

“A final decision will be reached based on the added value, both strategically and financially, to be brought to the project by the new shareholder,” a source involved in the developments informed energypress.

Meanwhile, a two-stage market test is expected to be launched by mid-September. Gastrade anticipates an accurate measure of the overall commercial interest in the project by the end of 2018, before it makes investment decisions. If all goes as planned, the FSRU project will be ready to operate at the end of 2020.

Important project news is expected to emerge this Friday at a Hellenic-American Chamber of Commerce conference in Thessaloniki, held ahead of the Thessaloniki International Trade Fair, opening Saturday.

The Alexandroupoli FSRU is seen as an important project that may ensure supply of new natural gas quantities to the Greek and regional southeast European markets, while also contributing to the diversification of supply sources and routes. The PCI-status project plan is being widely supported at Greek, EU and cross-Atlantic levels.


DEPA, Gastrade agree on capacity reservation for FSRU in north

The managing director of DEPA (public gas corporation), Dimitris Tzortzis, and the managing director of Gastrade, Konstantinos Spyropoulos, have reached an agreement in Athens regarding the future capacity reservation by DEPA for the LNG terminal in Alexandroupoli, northern Greece, an EU Project of Common Interest developed by Gastrade, as well as for DEPA’s participation in the relevant market test that will be carried out in the coming months, DEPA has announced in a statement.

The agreement was reached within the context of a trilateral meeting between DEPA, the Bulgarian Energy Holding EAD (BEH) and Gastrade.

This is a follow-up to a cooperation agreement signed by the two parties for the participation of DEPA in the share capital of Gastrade, which is expected to be completed soon, as well as for the joint efforts of the parties for further commercial development of the project.

At the same time, the Bulgarian side, following a meeting in Sofia last month by Greek energy minister Giorgos Stathakis and his Bulgarian counterpart Temenuzhka Petkova, confirmed its intention to speed up respective negotiations for the completion of its own participation in the project.

Gastrade is a Greek company that studies, designs, constructs, manages and operates gas infrastructure. The company has already required all licenses needed to begin constructing the LNG terminal in Alexandroupoli.

The project will ensure new gas quantities for supply to the Greek and regional markets of southeastern Europe, contribute to the expansion of gas supply sources and routes, promote competition to the benefit of consumers, supply security in Greece and the Balkans, and improve the reliability and flexibility of the national natural gas system as well as of the regional and trans-European systems.

In February, 2017, GasLog, an international owner, operator and manager of LNG carriers, announced that it had acquired a 20 percent stake in Gastrade.

GasLog’s consolidated owned fleet consists of 29 LNG carriers (25 ships on the water and four on order).

DEPA, backed by a long presence in the Greek gas market, is a modern and competitive group of companies with a dynamic presence in the energy sector. DEPA promotes the development of strategic infrastructure for the supply of gas from diversified sources and routes at competitive prices, with a view to taking a leading role in the markets of the wider region of southeastern Europe.

Bulgarian Energy Holding EAD (BEH) is the holding company for a group of companies which are principally engaged in electricity generation, supply and transmission, natural gas transmission, supply and storage and coal mining. BEH holds leading positions in the electricity and gas markets in Bulgaria and, through electricity exports, in the Balkans. BEH is wholly owned by the Bulgarian state and is the largest state-owned company in terms of total assets in the country. The rights of ownership of the state are exercised by the Minister of Energy.




Alexandroupoli FSRU business decision seen by end of year

A road map prepared by shareholders of a consortium for the development and operation of an FSRU project in Alexandroupoli, northeastern Greece, lists three basic steps still needed for the venture’s development and operation.

Greece’s DEPA, the public gas corporation, and Bulgaria’s BEH still need to complete negotiations and sign agreements concerning their involvement; an official market test measuring capacity coverage by interested third parties must be staged; and a finalized business plan that would enable the project’s development to commence towards the end of the year, are listed as three pending steps in the road map.

Current developments suggest the official market test will be held imminently, most likely by the summer.

The Alexandroupoli FSRU is seen as a project that may ensure supply of new natural gas quantities for the Greek and regional southeast European markets; contribute to the diversification of supply sources and routes; increase competition, to the benefit of consumers; and boost the reliability and flexibility of both the national and regional gas systems.

These factors have helped reinstate the Alexandroupoli FSRU as an EU Project of Common Interest (PCI).

The project’s interests are linked to those of the Greek-Bulgarian IGB Interconnector.

The Alexandroupoli FSRU plan was initiated by Gastrade, a member of the Copelouzos group, before Gaslog, an international LNG carrier, also officially joined the consortium. Due dilligence is currently in progress for DEPA’s entry with a 20 percent stake. DEPA signed a related agreement with Gastrade in October.

Negotiations with Bulgaria’s BEH are also in progress. The firm’s official entry into the project is expected soon.




DEPA, Gastrade formalize their Alexandroupoli LNG affiliation

Top officials of DEPA, the Public Gas Corporation, and Gastrade signed a Cooperation Agreement in Athens today for DEPA’s involvement in the prospective LNG terminal planned for  Alexandroupoli, northeastern Greece, a project being developed by Gastrade.

The project has been classified as a Project of Common Interest (PCI), facilitating EU funding.

The cooperation agreement, making DEPA’s involvement official, was signed by Theodoros Kitsakos, chief executive officer at DEPA, and Konstantinos Spyropoulos, Gastrade’s managing director. It includes the next steps to be taken for DEPA’s participation in Gastrade’s share capital, as well as a list of common efforts required by both parties to make progress with the project’s commercial development.

The Alexandroupoli LNG terminal promises to secure new natural gas supply quantities for the Greek and regional southeast European markets; offer new gas sources and routes; promote competition to the benefit of consumers; enhance supply security in Greece and the Balkan markets; and improve the reliability and flexibility of the Greek National Natural Gas Transmission System and of the regional and trans-European gas networks.

Over the past two years, DEPA and Gastrade have held a series of constructive meetings, staged to push forward their cooperation with regards to the project, both at national and European levels, and to create the optimal set-up for its development, construction and operation.

DEPA, backed by an extensive Greek gas market presence, is a modern and competitive group with dynamic presence in the energy sector. The corporation promotes the development of strategic infrastructure for the supply of natural gas from diverse sources and routes at competitive prices, with an objective to establish its leading role in the markets of the wider southeast European region.

Gastrade, a Greek utility company that studies, designs, develops, operates and exploits natural gas infrastructures, has obtained all necessary licenses for the Alexandroupoli LNG project,  enabling construction to commence.

Last February, Gaslog, one of the largest international owners, operators and managers of LNG carriers, acquired a 20% stake in the share capital of Gastrade via a 100% owned affiliate. Gaslog owns, operates and manages a fleet of 27 LNG carriers.









Last IGB market test, FSRU plan for Alexandroupoli imminent

The prospective IGB (Greek-Bulgarian Interconnector) project’s third and final market test, entailing the submission of binding bids by gas traders for the allocation of pipeline capacity, appears to be nearing.

The IGB project is directly linked to a plan for the development of a floating LNG termimal in Alexandroupoli, northeastern Greece, as one project would benefit the other.

Bulgaria’s new energy minister Nikolay Pavlov is believed to be maneuvering to make up for lost time as a result of the recent early elections held in Bulgaria. The third-round market test was originally scheduled to take place in March.

In addition, a required FEED (front-end enginnering and design) study concerning the Alexandroupoli LNG terminal is expected to be completed by the summer. This means that Gastrade, the enterprise behind the project, is expected to reach a final investment decision by the end of 2017.

GasLog, a venture headed by shipping magnate Peter Livanos, holds a 20 percent stake in Gastrade. GasLog has transported numerous LNG shipments for US firm Cheniere, interested in exporting gas to Europe via the prospective Alexandroupoli facility.

The Greek city’s floating storage regasification unit (FSRU), supported by the European Commission as an EU project of common interest, which would ensure EU funding, is planned to be developed as a 170,000 cubic-meters facility situated 17.6 kilometers southwest of the Alexandroupoli port.

Returning to the IGB project, a first market test was staged in April, 2016 but was deemed invalid. A second test held last November prompted offers covering 50 percent of the pipeline’s planned capacity, or 1.4 to 1.5 bcm, from DEPA, the Public Gas Corporation, Bulgargaz and Italy’s Edison. All three are involved in the project’s development.



Monaco-based GasLog subsidiary to acquire 20% of Gastrade

GasLog Ltd, an international owner, operator and manager of LNG carriers, today announced that a wholly owned subsidiary has entered into a sale and purchase agreement (SPA) to acquire a 20 percent shareholding in Gastrade SA.

Gastrade is licensed to develop an independent natural gas system offshore Alexandroupolis, northeastern Greece, utilizing a floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU) along with other fixed infrastructure.

Gastrade is a private limited company, incorporated in Greece and wholly owned by Asimina-Eleni Copelouzou.

Gastrade has been involved in the development of this FSRU project over a number of years. Closing of the SPA acquisition is subject to the satisfaction of certain closing conditions set out in the transaction documents. GasLog, as well as being a shareholder, will provide operations and maintenance services for the FSRU through an O&M agreement.

Gastrade is currently in discussions with a number of additional potential investors, including DEPA, the Greek state-owned gas company, Bulgarian Energy Holding (BEH), the holding company of the Bulgarian Ministry of Energy and major gas suppliers. Other large-scale international companies have expressed an intention to participate in the ownership and development of the terminal. A number of companies have also expressed interest in supplying LNG to the project.

This FSRU project would provide a new route and a vital source of gas diversification to a number of European countries that are currently highly dependent on pipeline gas in southeast and central Europe. Besides enhancing security of supply in the region, it will promote competition and pricing flexibility.

The project has the backing of the Greek and Bulgarian governments as well as the support of the EU. It has been assigned EU Project of Common Interest (PCI) status, designating it as a priority EU energy infrastructure project. The front-end engineering and design (FEED) study is expected to be part-funded by an EU grant, and is scheduled to commence in early 2017.

Gastrade aims to make a final investment decision by the end of 2017 with the FSRU scheduled to be operational by end of 2019.

Paul Wogan, Chief Executive Officer of GasLog Ltd., commented: “I am delighted that GasLog has been invited to join Gastrade. This is a strategically important energy import project for the region. The FSRU will be used as a gateway for LNG imports into southern Europe, where there is a growing demand and a need to diversify existing gas supply. This announcement, alongside GasLog’s ordering of long-lead items, demonstrates the ongoing development of the company’s FSRU strategy.”

Konstantinos Spyropoulos, Chairman and Managing Director of Gastrade, added: “We are very pleased to have GasLog involved in the project. Their long, successful track record in the maritime and, in particular, LNG sector, coupled with their leading innovation initiatives, makes them an excellent partner to take the project forward. We look forward to working with GasLog to bring this project to commercial operation.”

Monaco-based GasLog is an international owner, operator and manager of LNG carriers. GasLog’s fully-owned fleet includes 18 LNG carriers (including 13 ships in operation and 5 LNG carriers on order). GasLog has four LNG carriers operating under its technical management for third parties. GasLog partners LP, a master limited partnership formed by GasLog, owns a further nine LNG carriers.