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.

Alexandroupoli FSRU tender draws 3 bids, all by key players

A tender staged by Gastrade for the construction of a pipeline and related projects needed to link the prospective Alexandroupoli FSRU, in Greece’s northeast, with the national gas grid, attracted bids from three companies, all major players at an international level, on the deadline day last Friday.

Experienced Italian firm Saipem teamed up with Greece’s Terna for one of the three bids, while two Dutch bidders, Boskalis and Van Oord, submitted the other two offers.

Gastrade officials will appraise the technical aspects of the offers before moving on to the financial side.

Meanwhile, the second round of a tender for the project’s FSRU is expected to be announced within the next few days, inviting first-round participants to submit binding offers. Over ten bidders, experienced players from Greece and abroad, submitted first-round bids for the FSRU.

The deadline of an ongoing market test for binding offers concerning the FSRU’s capacity reservations, crucial for the project’s final investment decision, expires in a few days’ time.

Besides the LNG quantities involved, the duration of capacity reservation requests will also be a pivotal factor for the project’s sustainability.

Gastrade officials, basing their judgement on the procedure’s developments until now, are confident of a favorable market test outcome that will lead to the project’s actualization.

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%).



DESFA wants key role in country’s infrastructure projects

Gas grid operator DESFA, controlled by Senfluga, a consortium formed by Snam, Enagas and Fluxys for their acquisition of a 66 percent stake of the operator in 2018, is determined to play a leading role in all the country’s infrastructure projects as well as Greece’s wider natural gas-related developments.

“We see our role as being that of the leader in Greece’s gas sector and the wider region. We are interested in every gas project and want to be able to claim it. We also have the know-how and strong shareholders to play such a role,” a DESFA official told energypress.

According to sources, DESFA’s emergence as a prospective buyer of DEPA Infrastructure, a new entity established by gas utility DEPA as part of its privatization procedure, prompted officials to slightly extend the sale deadline.

More specifically, Snam, the Senfluga consortium’s chief member with a 54 percent stake, requested a deadline extension for the DEPA Infrastructure as it has yet to decide on its partners for this bidding quest. Enagas and Fluxys each hold 18 percent stakes in Senfluga. The Copelouzos group’s Damco recently joined this consortium, buying a 10 percent stake.

DESFA’s influence is also believed to have persuaded officials to delay a decision on whether to classify the development of a natural gas storage facility at a depleted offshore gas field in the south Kavala region as a national or independent grid project.

Snam, Enagas and Fluxys are part of the six-member Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) consortium.

DESFA, which has signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the Alexandroupoli FSRU, is now seriously considering to acquire a 20 percent stake in this venture, headed by Gastrade.

Other projects being considered by DESFA include a 175 million-euro Cretan LNG terminal that promises to resolve the island’s energy sufficiency concerns, as well as a 57.3-km gas pipeline connection linking the Thessaloniki area with North Macedonia, already included in the operator’s ten-year strategic plan.


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.

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.

DEPA examining Alexandroupoli FSRU stake, role in privatization

Gas utility DEPA is contemplating its entry into the equity line-up of an FSRU planned for Alexandroupoli, northeastern Greece, and, if so, whether this stake would be incorporated into DEPA Trade or DEPA Infrastructure, two new divisions to emerge ahead of the utility’s upcoming privatization.

DEPA’s stake in the Alexandroupoli FSRU, expected to be 20 percent, would make a good selling point for DEPA Trade ahead of the privatization. Finalized decisions by the DEPA board are expected soon. Neighboring Bulgaria’s liberalized gas market, in which DEPA already enjoys a presence, will be taken into account.

A project budgeted at 380 million euros, the Alexandroupoli FSRU, promoted by Gastrade, has reached a very mature investment phase. The unit is planned to be moored 17.6 kilometers southwest of the Alexandroupoli port.

According to the project plan, the facility’s LNG storage capacity will be between 150,000 and 170,000 cubic meters, while LNG regasification will be performed at the FSRU and then transported to mainland pipelines via a 28-kilometer pipeline, of which 24 kilometers will be under water.

The details of the DEPA Trade and DEPA Infrastructure privatizations still remain uncertain. According to some sources, both procedures could be staged concurrently and offer investors as much as 65 percent of each division, in other words, the Greek State’s entire stake in DEPA. Hellenic Petroleum ELPE owns the other 35 percent of DEPA.

Decarbonization plan increases 2030 gas demand forecast to 8bcm

The natural gas sector will benefit most from the country’s plan to decarbonize by 2028 but new infrastructure will be needed to cope with the higher gas demand, officials have pointed out at an Athens forum.

Greece’s overall natural gas demand forecast for 2030 has now been revised upwards and is expected to exceed 8 billion cubic meters. Also, LNG appears likely to dominate over pipeline-supplied gas.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced a decarbonization objective for Greece by 2028 while delivering a speech at the recent UN Climate Action Summit in New York.

Prior to this announcement, domestic natural gas demand was forecast to rise to 6 billion cubic meters by 2030 with a possible additional amount of up to one billion cubic meters, depending on the number of new gas-fueled power stations to be developed in coming years.

The revised gas demand forecasts for Greece were presented yesterday by gas grid operator DESFA and Gastrade company officials at the Athens Investment Forum.

Gastrade general manager Konstantinos Sifneos projected annual gas demand will increase to 7 billion cubic meters over the next five years.

Gas demand increased by 17 percent this year, while, for the first time, LNG quantities exceeded pipeline gas, it was noted.

Gastrade second-round market test for Alexandroupoli FSRU in September

Gastrade, heading an effort for the development of an FSRU project in Alexandroupoli, northeastern Greece, plans to stage a binding second-round market test for annual capacity reservations in September, slightly beyond July, as has been previously reported.

Gastrade is currently preparing and submitting various related documents as part of the procedural requirements set by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy. The authority has endorsed Gastrade’s guidelines.

A non-binding first-round market test was completed on December 31 last year. Twenty firms based in various parts of the wider region, as well as major international gas traders, expressed official interest for annual capacity reservations totaling 12.2 billion cubic meters, which exceeded the project’s planned regasification capacity of 5.5 billion cubic meters.

A final investment decision is expected to be reached by the end of the year while the project’s launch is planned for the end of 2021.

Second-round market test for Alexandroupoli FSRU in July

Gastrade, heading an effort for the development of an FSRU project in Alexandroupoli, northeastern Greece, is close to launching a binding second-round market test for annual capacity reservations, seen taking place within July.

The company has requested the approval of market-test guidelines and regulations from RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, sources have informed.

Once this stage has been completed, participants will receive a series of related documents covering issues such as capacity reservation and guarantees.

Pricing policy is among the matters that have been discussed between Gastrade and RAE in the lead-up. Gastrade has opted for a flexible pricing policy promising users a range of choices on aspects such as LNG quantities, products and commitment durations.

Binding second-round market test participants will be given approximately two months to make their capacity reservations for the LNG terminal, sources have estimated.

The market test’s first round, a non-binding stage, was completed on December 31. Twenty firms based in various parts of the wider region, as well as major international gas traders, expressed official interest for annual capacity reservations totaling 12.2 billion cubic meters, which exceeded the project’s planned regasification capacity of 5.5 billion cubic meters.


Alexandroupoli FSRU second-round market test terms almost ready

A binding second-round market test for an FSRU project planned for development by Gastrade in Alexandroupoli, northeastern Greece, could be launched immediately following next week’s Greek Orthodox Easter.

RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, is close to finalizing and endorsing the terms of the market test. The authority has been engaged in continual talks with Gastrade over the past few weeks.

Gastrade is striving to maximize the flexibility of terms and product range to be offered to prospective users of the LNG terminal.

The market test’s first round, a non-binding stage, was completed on December 31. Twenty firms based in various parts of the wider region expressed official interest for annual capacity reservations totaling 12.2 billion cubic meters, exceeding the project’s planned regasification capacity of 5.5 billion cubic meters.

Interested parties intend to supply LNG quantities to markets in the wider southeast European region.

Gastrade plans to make a final investment decision by the end this year, while the project’s launch is projected for the end of 2021.


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.

Alexandroupoli FSRU tender draws major international interest

More than ten companies are believed to have expressed official interest in a tender launched by Gastrade, a member of the Copelouzos group, for provision of a vessel to be used as part of the FSRU facility in Alexandroupoli, northeastern Greece, as well as for the LNG terminal’s development.

The tender’s deadline expired last Friday. Major international players have submitted offers, including foreign companies in collaboration with Greek contractors.

A market test measuring the level of interest for capacity reservations at the planned LNG terminal in Alexandroupoli, promising to serve as a gateway for gas supply to the wider Balkan region, is being concurrently held with the tender. The results of the current market test, whose deadline expires in mid-December, will be pivotal for the project’s final investment decision. A follow-up market test, for binding commercial interest, will also be staged.

The Alexandroupoli FSRU, planned to be constructed as a fixed facility 17.6 kilometers southwest of the city’s port, will have an LNG storage capacity of 170,000 cubic meters and the ability to supply gas at a rate of 900,000 nm3 per hour or 8.3 billion nm3 per year.

Construction of the Alexandroupoli FSRU is scheduled to commence in 2019 while its completion date has been set for July, 2020. The unit’s launch is expected in late September, 2020.


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.









Gastrade announces tender for Alexandroupoli FSRU pipelines

Gastrade has anounced a tender seeking construction firms for pipeline development linked to a floating LNG terminal (FSRU) planned for Alexandroupoli, northeastern Greece.

The FSRU project, taken on by Gastrade, is envisaged to be connected to Greece’s natural gas grid.

Construction companies have been invited to submit bids for two pipeline sections – submarine and overland. The split of the LNG terminal’s pipelines into two sections is expected to help local construction firms participate in the international tender.

The project’s technical planning stage, funded by the EU, is expected to be completed within the third quarter of the current year; the tender for the project’s construction is scheduled to proceed in the fourth quarter of this year; while a final decision is planned for the first quarter of 2018, Gastrade has announced.

Gastrade has set a September 15 deadline for bids.


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.