Minister to propose general gas price cap, protection fund

Greek energy minister Kostas Skrekas, taking part in an emergency meeting of EU energy ministers this Friday, will propose the establishment of a European fund to counter consequences of any future energy crises, as well as a general price cap on natural gas for all exporters, the latter proposal supported by Greece and three other member states.

A European fund for future energy crises could be designed to help protect European households and businesses from future price explosions, the proposal’s backers will support.

This fund’s structure and principles could be based on a Greek risk compensation mechanism announced by Skrekas, the country’s energy minister, in late August.

The Greek mechanism is now ready to be implemented following revisions to the public service compensation system, taking effect October, to generate increased revenues for energy crisis tools.

Financial sources for the European fund proposal have yet to be specified by Greece and the proposal’s three other backers. The money needed for this fund could stem from a low-interest European Investment Bank loan, carbon emission rights, as well as leftover Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) amounts.

 

 

IPTO set to join EuroAsia Interconnector by year’s end

Power grid operator IPTO is expected to join EuroAsia Interconnector, a Cypriot company established to link the Greek, Cypriot and Israeli power grids, by the end of the year.

IPTO’s anticipated board approval of the company’s agreement with EuroAsia Interconnector is the next step in IPTO’s process of acquiring a stake in the company, expected to be at least 25 percent.

EuroAsia Interconnector accepted an official proposal submitted by IPTO in late July. Speaking at the recent Thessaloniki International Fair, IPTO president Manos Manousakis noted EuroAsia Interconnector’s acceptance of the Greek power grid operator’s terms ensures IPTO’s participation in the Greek, Cypriot and Israeli power grid interconnection, a project of strategic importance.

Once the IPTO board approves the agreement, the operator will need to conduct due diligence, expected to take place within the next month or two.

The deal for IPTO’s acquisition of a stake in EuroAsia Interconnector is expected to include terms for a further stake increase in the Cypriot company.

The agreement’s technical and financial details promise to propel the development of the Crete-Cyprus segment of the overall project, the most mature of all segments.

The Crete-Cyprus segment will end the electricity isolation of Cyprus, the EU’s only remaining member state still disconnected from fellow member states, and also boost Greece’s role as an electricity transmission hub in southeast Europe.

A total of 898 kilometers of subsea cables are planned to be installed at a depth of up to 3,000 meters for the Crete-Cyprus grid link.

 

European action taken to avoid energy-led bankruptcy crisis

Energy retailer bankruptcies in countries such as the UK and energy group nationalizations in France and Germany, worrying developments of recent months, have emerged as a severe warning that a 2008 Lehman Brothers-type bankruptcy crisis in Europe is possible.

The energy crisis in Europe has placed the entire economy in peril as it could prompt a series of devastating knock-on effects.

Concern is high as a result of the high exposure of energy companies to margin calls, serving as guarantees that exist to ensure that if one counterparty goes bankrupt, the other will collect money it is owed.

The problem is that wildly fluctuating electricity and natural gas prices have forced companies to drastically increase their guarantee sums, even if just temporarily, a demand greatly pressuring their finances.

Highlighting this increased pressure, Greek power utility PPC’s chief executive Giorgos Stassis recently noted that PPC needed – for the aforementioned reasons – to commit one billion euros one day in August before being reimbursed half this amount shortly afterwards, when prices eased.

Margin-call demands have a multiplying effect that could turn the energy crisis into a debt crisis, as was the case with the financial crisis of 2008. This explains why European governments are rushing to offer capital guarantees and liquidity to energy companies in an effort to avoid bankruptcies caused by an inability to meet current needs.

It is estimated that such support measures in Europe will cost in excess of 1.5 trillion euros and could reach as high as two trillion euros.

 

 

 

Energy sufficiency fears rising, extra FSU may be required

The probability of a complete disruption of Russian gas supply to Europe, including the Turk Stream pipeline supplying Greece and other Balkan countries, is becoming increasingly likely, members of the country’s crisis management team have told energypress.

Over the past few weeks, energy operators have been staging more frequent simulated tests for the country’s electricity and natural gas systems in an effort to measure the extent of energy shortages that would result from a Russian decision to cut off all Gazprom supply routes to Europe.

The tests, according to sources, include rapid moves securing additional LNG cargo orders as replacements for Russian gas quantities.

An extra FSU at the LNG terminal on Revythoussa, the islet just off Athens, in addition to one just installed at the facility, cannot be ruled out at this stage, Athanasios Dagoumas, president of RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, noted yesterday during a speech at the OT (Oikonomikos Tahydromos) Forum.

 

No EU decision seen today for cap on Russian gas prices

At least ten EU member states oppose singling out Russia for a cap on its gas prices, warning that such a move could push Russian president Vladimir Putin to cut supplies to Europe completely, the Financial Times has reported.

The EU countries opposing action against Russia, alone, including Greece, Italy and Poland, want caps on gas prices for all suppliers.

The lack of consensus on a gas price cap means that the proposal is not expected to lead to a decision at today’s emergency meeting of EU energy ministers.

“Quite frankly the Russians will probably retaliate on this,” Nikos Tsafos, chief energy adviser to Greek prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, told the Financial Times.

“Europe should have a loud voice and impose a reasonable price,” said Italy’s energy transition minister Roberto Cingolani, saying he too preferred a general cap. “It is a perfect storm against our citizens and companies.”

Moscow has threatened to stop all gas supply to Europe should the EU impose a gas price cap. Russian gas supplies to the bloc have been cut by about 80 per cent to about 84mn cubic meters a day since the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

 

 

Worst-case natural gas scenario for Europe becoming a reality

The worst-case scenario for natural gas supply in Europe appears to be turning into a reality. If Russian gas supply to Germany via the Nord Stream I pipeline – now closed temporarily for repair work, according to Russia’s Gazprom – ends up being stopped, long term, the effects, skyrocketing prices and energy shortages, would swiftly spread across Europe.

The pipeline’s shut-off would leave no supply route unaffected, including Turk Stream, a key pipeline route for supply of Russian gas to Greece.

Greek government officials discussed concerns over such a scenario during a meeting yesterday at the Prime Minister’s office, while, on a wider level, the clouds are darkening over Europe, as Moscow appears increasingly likely to keep Nord Stream I shut off.

If so, Greece will need to activate its national emergency plan, whose measures include further LNG shipments, diesel conversion of natural gas-fueled power stations, and increased lignite power generation.

Even so, the national emergency plan may not suffice to fully cover the country’s energy demand should cold winter conditions be prolonged, a minister who took part in yesterday’s meeting at the Prime Minister’s office acknowledged to energypress.

In Greece, the wholesale price of natural gas rose sharply yesterday to 280 euros per MWh, impacting electricity prices.

European resolve for crisis solution containing gas prices

The growing resolve of European officials to find solutions that could contain gas prices is already producing results, as highlighted by a significant price reduction of just over 30 percent over the past week.

Germany appears to have changed stance by joining EU member states of the south in their call for a cap on natural gas, now being examined by the European Commission following a delay of many months.

Germany’s public admission that a single European solution is needed to counter the energy crisis, an acknowledgment coming after the country previously blocked proposals forwarded by Europe’s south, has swiftly impacted energy markets.

Yesterday’s news of a new Russian gas supply disruption through Nord Stream I, under the pretext of maintenance requirements, did not prompt a further increase in gas prices, as would be expected, but, instead, resulted in a price reduction. The TTF index fell yesterday to 239 euros per MWh, down from a record level of 346 euros per MWh on August 26, a 31 percent drop over the one-week period.

This reduction has filtered through to today’s wholesale electricity prices around Europe. They fell to 635 euros per MWh in France, 571 euros per MWh in Germany, 661 euros per MWh in Italy, and 582 euros per MWh in Greece and Bulgaria. The price level for Greece is approximately 100 euros lower compared to yesterday.

 

Brussels looks to combine cap on gas for power, windfall tax

The European Commission, in search for solutions to ease the effects of the energy crisis on the EU, is likely to soon introduce a cap on gas intended for electricity generation, based on a model implemented in Spain and Portugal, as well as a windfall tax on extraordinary gains achieved by vertically integrated electricity producers, an initiative already taken by Greece.

Brussels authorities are also looking to greatly revise the structure of the target model and possibly introduce a common European funding tool, but these two plans are expected to take longer to prepare and implement.

Officials of a number of EU member states have contacted Greek authorities to enquire about details concerning the windfall tax, withholding excess revenues of electricity producers in the domestic wholesale market through a temporary mechanism that results in a partial return of day-ahead market revenues.

Member states are mostly interested to know if this mechanism has led to any side effects in Greece’s day-ahead market.

Many member state officials find the Greek model appealing as it results in an immediate disconnection of electricity prices from the price of natural gas without the need for any target model changes.

IGB gas pipeline nearing launch, doubts dismissed

The prospective IGB gas pipeline linking Greece and Bulgaria is believed to be almost ready for its commercial launch, scheduled for October 1, despite recent doubts that were cast over the entire project.

Certain analysts recently questioned whether American LNG supply to Bulgaria, through the IGB pipeline, would go ahead, claiming the new Bulgarian government wants to renegotiate a supply agreement with Russia’s Gazprom.

ICGB AD, the consortium behind the IGB project has announced, in what is seen as a response to the scare, that an auction offering pipeline capacity to users will be held this Thursday through the online platform BALKAN GAS HUB EAD, from 9am to 12pm (Sofia time).

Greek construction company AVAX, developing the project, has set itself an end-of-August objective, which could be stretched to September 8, the latest, to complete pending work and obtain required permits from the Bulgarian authorities.

If all this goes according to plan, the IGB gas pipeline will be ready to operate on October 1.

Ukraine war adds to complexity of Greek-Albanian EEZ dispute in Ionian

An unresolved exclusive economic zone dispute between Greece and Albania over territorial rights in the Ionian Sea has become even more complicated as a result of Russia’s war in Ukraine, a conflict that has turned the Ionian and Adriatic sea areas into a hotbed of confrontation between NATO and Russia.

According to a recent report published by Italian daily La Reppublica, numerous incidents, both minor and more intense, have taken place in the Adriatic and Ionian seas between the escorting forces of the US 6th Fleet aircraft carrier Harry Truman and Russian warships. At least one of these incidents took place off Corfu, military sources have informed.

The naval incidents in the region are a result of its increased strategic importance for NATO with regards to the war in Ukraine as well as military preparations for any possible spread of the conflict beyond Ukraine.

Greece and Albania, following an agreement between the two countries, have begun procedures to take their Ionian Sea EEZ dispute to the International Court of Justice in The Hague. The consequences of the Ukraine war add to the issue’s complexity.

Energean and ELPE (Hellenic Petroleum), both holders of licenses in the Ionian Sea, are working to explore the region’s hydrocarbon prospects.

Greek-Italian grid link repair work subduing power prices

The Greek-Italian grid interconnection’s temporary disruption for repair work is offering partial protection against wholesale electricity price increases in Greece.

The temporary-closure period for the grid interconnection, which has been sidelined towards both directions since August 19, has just been extended until September 3 following a request made by Italy’s power grid operator Terna, according to an announcement made by IPTO, Greece’s power grid operator.

Last Friday and Saturday, the wholesale electricity price was 300 euros per MWh higher in Italy compared to Greece.

Under normal conditions, price differences between neighboring markets prompts electricity export activity towards the lower-priced country.

Greek electricity exports were considerable in July, reaching 500 GWh, data provided by IPTO showed. Of this total, 351 GWh was exported to Italy, 253 GWh to Albania, 184 GWh to North Macedonia and 90 GWh to Bulgaria.

Electricity export figures will be subdued in August as a result of the disruption of the Greek-Italian grid interconnection. The link has been closed down for repairs on numerous occasions in recent years.

 

 

Athens among 4 European cities with July price cuts

Household electricity prices in Athens fell by 7 percent in July, month to month, making the Greek capital one of just four European cities to register price reductions last month, a latest monthly survey conducted by HEPI, the Household Energy Price Index, has shown.

Retail electricity prices in Athens dropped to 0.218 euros per KWh, below the European average of 0.284 euros per KWh and slightly above the average retail electricity price for 33 cities included in the study, which ended July at 0.217 euros.

Athens was ranked 21st among the HEPI survey’s 33 participating cities in terms of retail electricity cost.

The Greek government’s electricity subsidy program for June and July exceeded 730 million euros per month and will cost over 1.1 billion euros for August.

Besides Athens, three other European cities experienced retail electricity price reductions in July: Vienna (-20%); Madrid (-12%); and Rome (-10%).

Europe’s highest retail electricity prices were recorded in London (0.630 euros per KWh); Copenhagen (0.530 euros per KWh); Rome (0.459 euros per KWh); Amsterdam (0.419 euros per KWh) and Prague (0.409 euros per KWh).

July’s biggest retail electricity price increases in Europe, according to the HEPI survey, were registered by: Vilnius (44%); Amsterdam (37%); London (25%); and Sofia (24%).

Ten Greek grid link, storage projects on ENTSO-E list

A total of ten Greek grid interconnection and storage projects have been included in development plans set by ENTSO-E, the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity, for up to 2030 and 2040.

They include an extension to the line running to Italy, the Euroafrica and Euroasia grid interconnections, an interconnection project for the south Aegean and its possible extension to Africa, new lines connecting Greece with Bulgaria and Turkey, a pumped-storage station in Amfilohia, northwestern Greece, two Cretan interconnections, as well as the GREGY north African interconnection.

In addition to 23 GW in transboundary grid interconnections being planned in the EU by 2025, authorities have also identified the need for a further 64 GW in projects, including storage units, at 50 European borders by 2030 and 132 GW by 2024.

Overall, the ENTSO-E plan includes 141 grid interconnection projects and 23 energy storage projects.

 

Framework established for energy cooperation with Saudi Arabia

Greece and Saudi Arabia have reached an agreement for the installation of a subsea data cable that will connect Europe with Asia and also discussed the prospect of linking their power grids to supply Europe with lower-cost green energy.

A memorandum of understanding for cooperation related to the energy sector was signed during an official visit of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud with his delegation.

The MoU was signed by Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Energy, and Nikos Dendias, Greece’s Minister of Foreign Affairs.

It establishes a framework for cooperation between the two countries in fields including renewable energy, electrical interconnection, exporting electricity to Greece and Europe, clean hydrogen and its transfer to Europe, energy efficiency, and the oil, gas and petrochemical industry.

Offshore wind energy framework submitted to Greek parliament

The Greek energy ministry submitted to parliament a new bill of law concerning the offshore wind sector, the licensing process of renewables and environmental measures.

The new law provides the opportunity to install offshore wind farms in marine regions, thus increasing the share of renewables in the country’s energy mix and reducing fossil fuels.

The Greek government will specify marine zones where interested investors may take part in auctions to secure offshore projects.

Skrekas: Greece is against a binding 15% reduction of gas consumption

Greek energy minister, Kostas Skrekas, said today that a horizontal binding reduction of natural gas consumption is not acceptable for Greece.

Along with other European nations, such as Spain, France and Italy, Greece is against the European Commission’s call for a 15% reduction.

Skrekas said that the topic will be discussed in the upcoming energy summit in July 26, where he will also resubmit the government’s suggestion for a different power market mechanism that will separate the formation of wholesale prices from the price of natural gas.

Power suppliers under enormous strain because of increased liquidity needs and high costs

Power suppliers in Greece have reached a critical point considering their inability to finance their increasing liquidity needs and remain in operation.
The suppliers’ capital needs are increasing rapidly along with power prices, since these companies are obligated to pay cash for the electricy they buy daily in the energy exchange.
Given the fact that in August power prices are expected to rise significantly, since the price of gas is passed on one month later in the Greek market, the suppliers’ liquidity needs will also rise considerably.
Furthermore, suppliers are also faced with the following:
Financing for over a month consumer subsidies announced by the government.
The rise of unpaid bills and arrears on behalf of consumers.
Damages from consumers who make use of easy change of supplier.
The obligation to pay their charges to grid operators regardless of having collected it by their consumers.
Suppliers have exhausted their ability to procure new financing from banks, as well as their shareholders’ ability to support them.

Tourism boom revenue will help fund winter’s energy subsidies

The Greek tourism industry’s strong revenue figures being generated this summer, which could exceed those of the record-breaking summer of 2019 if July’s heightened activity is sustained through August, will prove invaluable in financing energy subsidies needed in coming months.

At the current rate, Greece’s tourism industry could contribute between 19 and 20 billion euros to the budget, well over the budget forecast of 16 to 17 billion euros.

International authorities, including Fatih Birol, executive director of the International Energy Agency, are warning of even tougher times ahead.

European countries greatly dependent on Russian natural gas are scrambling for solutions ahead of next winter. Germany is seeking nuclear-energy assistance from France. Chancellor Olaf Scholtz has reiterated energy prices will remain high for some time yet. Italian energy company Enel has warned customers that it cannot guarantee gas and electricity prices will continue to be offered under current agreements.

Latest calculations indicate that Greece’s electricity bill subsidies for households and businesses could soon exceed one billion euros per month.

The country’s electricity subsidy cost for August is expected to greatly exceed July’s figure of 722 million euros, which was based on a cost of 240 euros per MWh, now over 300 euros per MWh.

 

Brussels report highlights EU’s alarming energy cost increase

The cost of wholesale electricity in the EU rose by over 400 percent in the first quarter of 2022, compared to the equivalent period a year earlier, while gas imports during this period cost the EU a total of 78 billion euros, of which 27 billion euros concerned Russian natural gas quantities, a report published by the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Energy has shown.

Households and businesses across the continent have faced unprecedented natural gas cost increases following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February. Consequently, the TTF index skyrocketed to peak at 212 euros per MWh on March 7.

The EU adopted a series of sanctions primarily concerning the energy sector as a result of the Russian attack, the report noted. Also, in May, the EU approved its REPower EU plan, designed to gradually end Europe’s reliance on Russian fossil fuels, bolster the continent’s energy security, and support the green-energy transition.

Imports of Russian gas fell by 71 percent via Belarus and 41 percent via Ukraine in the first quarter of 2022, compared to the equivalent period a year earlier. Gas inflow from the Nord Stream pipeline linking Russia with Germany fell by 60 percent in early June.

Europe’s wholesale electricity price averaged 201 euros per MWh in the first quarter of 2022, 281 percent higher than the equivalent period in 2021, the report noted.

Spain and Portugal registered the highest wholesale electricity price increases during this period, a 411 percent rise, followed by Greece (343%) and France (336%), the report noted.

Europe on edge as Russia limits supply, fiscal revisions needed

Emergency measures are being prepared around Europe, confronting reduced Russian gas supplies and fearing even greater cuts. It remains a mystery if the Nord Steam I gas pipeline – linking Russia with Germany, and by extension, other markets – will reopen on July 21. The pipeline was shut yesterday for a 10-day period to undergo maintenance, according to Russian officials.

Anything is possible from July 21 onwards. Russian gas supply through Nord Steam I could increase or may dry up completely.

In response, German officials are preparing to reactivate coal-fired power stations to make up for energy-source insufficiencies prompted by Russia’s reduced gas supply, while, energy-consumption restrictions, including an order urging household members to take fewer hot showers, could also be introduced, if needed.

In France, industries are turning to oil for energy, while Italian oil and gas company ENI has announced Gazprom will cut its gas supply by a further one third.

In Greece, the fiscal pressure caused by the months-long energy crisis, exacerbated by Russia’s war on Ukraine, is seen resulting in a budget deficit of 2 percent in 2022. A fiscal adjustment will be needed to transform this deficit into a 1 percent primary surplus in 2023.

Such a fiscal improvement, however, may not be possible given the current gas and electricity price levels. The government’s electricity-bill subsidy support for consumers is costing between 800 million and one billion euros a month.

 

IGB moves close to launch, ICGB consortium certified

The Greek-Bulgarian IGB gas pipeline has moved a step closer towards its launch, expected around the end of this month, following the completion of a certification procedure for the ICGB consortium behind the project.

The European Commission, according to information made available, has approved a certification application submitted by the Greek Regulatory Authority for Energy, RAE, and its Bulgarian counterpart, EWRC.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Bulgarian leader Kiril Petkov will both attend the project’s inauguration ceremony in Komotini, northeastern Greece, this Friday, ahead of the project’s commercial launch towards the end of the month.

The two leaders are expected to highlight this project’s contribution to the EU’s ongoing effort to end the continent’s reliance on Russia’s Gazprom.

The IGB gas pipeline will offer an alternative natural gas route into Bulgaria, initially via the TAP route and, from autumn onwards, through Greece’s gas grid. From 2023, the IGB will serve as a gateway for LNG imports from coastal FSRUs in the region. LNG quantities will reach Bulgaria, Romania, even Ukraine, through pipeline interconnections.

Greek, Italian PMs to reiterate call for EU price cap on wholesale gas

The leaders of Greece and Italy will once again call for an EU-wide cap on wholesale gas prices, this time as an even more urgent measure given Russia’s latest gas-supply cuts to Europe, at a summit of EU leaders beginning today.

However, it remains unclear if Greek prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and his Italian counterpart Mario Draghi can convince fellow EU member state leaders to join them for a wider European front favoring the cap.

The two leaders will not be entering the summit talks with high expectations as their cause has not been included on the summit’s agenda of topics to be discussed. Even so, the cap issue is expected to be discussed tomorrow, given the latest surge in energy prices.

The Greek and Italian leaders are expected to highlight the alarming rise of natural gas over the past ten days, up 50 percent, as well as yesterday’s dire warning by Fatih Birol, executive director of the International Energy Agency, telling Europe to prepare for a full disruption of Russian natural gas.

Mitsotakis, the Greek leader, had also called for a cap on wholesale gas prices in March.

Authorities in Italy, one of Europe’s most dependent countries on Russian energy sources, have announced that they are examining an emergency plan, including electricity and gas use restrictions for households, businesses and industry, if Gazprom does not resume regular gas supply to the country, cut by half just days ago.

Slovakia has also reported receiving less than half of the usual volumes. France has informed it had received no Russian gas from Germany since mid-June, but the country is getting supplies from elsewhere.

Bulgaria, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands and Poland have already had their Russian gas deliveries suspended after refusing a demand to pay in Russian roubles.

 

PPC seeking big-name offshore wind farm partnerships

Power utility PPC is seeking to establish a strategic partnership with a major international partner or partners for co-development of offshore wind farms in Greek territory as a follow-up to its partial acquisition of energy firm Volterra’s renewable energy portfolio, namely 112 MW in wind and solar energy projects, both already operating and under construction.

PPC is looking at offshore wind farm collaborations with the likes of Norway’s Aker, France’s Total and EDF, as well as Germany’s RWE. The Greek power utility has already held discussions with some of these companies, according to sources. Partnerships could be established with one company or even two, offering 33.3 percent shares to each.

According to the sources, PPC aims to have reached an agreement for offshore wind farm collaborations within the summer, concurrent to the energy ministry’s establishment of a legal framework for an offshore wind farm sector in Greek sea territory.

The ministry’s framework for the sector is nearing completion and could be forwarded for consultation as soon as mid-June.

This explains why PPC is currently giving preference to offshore wind farm projects in Greece over wind and PV project acquisitions in the Balkans, which the company has kept a close watch on for investment opportunities since the end of 2021.

Israeli power grid operator officials in Athens for grid link

The energy ministry and power grid operator IPTO seem determined to press ahead with two major grid interconnection projects, one to link Greece with Cyprus and Israel, the other Greece and Egypt, REPowerEU, Europe’s strategic plan aiming to end the continent’s reliance on Russian fossil fuels through energy-source diversification, being the driving force behind this action.

IPTO, according to sources, is just about ready to forward a proposal for participation in EuroAsia Interconnector, a consortium established for the development of the Israel-Cyprus-Greece grid interconnection.

Highlighting the activity concerning the project, officials of Israel’s power grid operator are in Athens for talks today with IPTO’s chief executive Manos Manousakis and other company officials.

The Israeli officials will also take part in an ensuing meeting with Greek energy minister Kostas Skrekas.

Israeli interest in the grid interconnection has grown following the European Commission’s decision to make available 657 million euros for the project’s Cyprus-Greece section.

The Israel-Cyprus-Greece grid interconnection will facilitate RES development in Israel, promising to contribute to the EU-27 aim for an end of Europe’s reliance on Russian fossil fuels.

The grid link, to measure 1,208 kilometers and offer a 1-GW capacity, will also end Cyprus’ energy isolation and offer energy security to Israel.

It is budgeted at 2.5 billion euros with completion slated for the end of 2025, if procedures go according to plan.

Manousakis, the IPTO chief executive, plans to visit Cairo during June for talks with officials at Egypt’s power grid operator, EETC. Progress on the prospective Greek-Egyptian grid link has been smooth. The two sides are now preparing for a feasibility study.

Skrekas, the energy minister, is expected to be in Egypt sooner, to take part in the East Med Gas Forum, scheduled for June 14 and 15. He is expected to meet with Egyptian energy ministry officials on the sidelines of this event, for talks on the Greek-Egyptian grid link.

This project, based on a proposal from the Copelouzos group, entails a subsea cable from Egypt to the Greek capital.

It is budgeted at 3.5 billion euros and will offer a 3-GW capacity for renewable energy, which will also be exported to other EU member states through grid interconnections linking Greece with neighboring countries.

Electricity cost up 13% in May, Athens prices among Europe’s lowest

The cost of electricity for households in Athens increased by 13 percent in May, compared to the previous month, but prices in the Greek capital remain among Europe’s lowest, according to a monthly study conducted by the Household Energy Price Index, covering 33 European cities.

Ljubljana registered the biggest electricity price increase for households in May, up 29 percent, followed by Riga (26%), Dublin (18%), Athens (13%) and Prague (6%).

In terms of electricity price levels in May, Athens was ranked 16th among the 33 cities on the HEPI list, with a price of 0.2377 euros per KWh, below the EU-27 average of 0.2717 euroe per KWh.

The cost of electricity in London in May was 0.4975 euros per KWh, followed by Rome (0.4932 euros per KWh), Copenhagen (0.4871 euros per KWh) and Vienna (0.4744 euros per KWh).

Athens’ relatively lower price in May was attributed to the government’s subsidy policy, while the 13 percent price increase in May resulted from a reduction of subsidies in May compared to April as a result of a de-escalation in wholesale electricity prices.

The Greek government’s subsidy package for June will be worth slightly less than that of May.

Low expectations for crisis solutions at two-day summit

Expectations of energy-crisis solutions being found at a two-day summit of EU leaders, beginning today, are subdued as a result of the European Commission’s persistence for no intervention of Europe’s common energy market, contrasting interests between member states of the north and south, as well as disagreement over an embargo on Russian oil.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis is expected to reiterate his call for a detachment of natural gas prices from electricity prices as the only viable European solution that could strike the problem at root level.

However, the Greek leader’s proposal is not expected to be adopted, government officials admitted, warning that the energy crisis could completely spin out of control if the EU-27 do not reach an agreement by next winter.

Athens acknowledges that even if its plan for a wholesale market cap is effective, it will only result in a partial solution if Russia’s war on Ukraine continues and energy prices remain elevated.

The Greek leader, at the EU summit, will reiterate his call for emergency measures including a cap on TTF prices, which, for months now, have been distorted, not reflecting market reality.

NECP officials at odds over future gas role in Greece

Local authorities are at odds over the role of natural gas in the country’s National Energy and Climate Plan, to be revised, as well as on the decarbonization road map for the coming decades.

A second session just held by an energy ministry working group assembled for the NECP revisions has revealed contrasting views on the future plans for natural gas in Greece, energypress sources have informed.

One side of the working group’s members wants an end to the expansion of natural gas in Greece and containment of investments for new natural gas infrastructure, especially networks.

At the other end, a second group of officials supports that Europe’s intention to end the continent’s reliance on Russian natural gas highlights the need for diversification of energy sources in Greece, as the country’s system is designed based on the assumption of Russia being a key supplier of natural gas.

This group also noted that Greece, based on the new European energy plan, stands to become a main gateway for natural gas to the wider region and, as a result, is favorably positioned for related gas infrastructure investments worth 10 billion euros, through the REPowerEU plan, prompted by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

 

Greece envisioned as gas supply solution in Europe, Balkans

Greece is seen as a natural gas supply solution by Balkan and European countries, a Regional Task Force meeting in Sofia, staged within the framework of the EU Energy Platform –  formed to help establish common natural gas and hydrogen markets – has made apparent.

The Sofia meetings agenda focused on the search of natural gas supply solutions given an anticipated demand increase in Europe, including the continent’s southeast, Mihalis Thomadakis, Director of Strategy and Management at gas grid operator DESFA, who participated in the Sofia meeting, has told an ensuing industry event, Athens Energy Dialogues.

He was a member of the Greek delegation in Sofia led by Nektaria Karakatsani, an energy ministry expert on energy policy matters.

Delegations representing Ukraine, Bulgaria, Romania, Croatia and Moldova also took part at the Regional Task Force meeting in Sofia.

Thomadakis, the DESFA official, underlined that gas network upgrades need to be developed as quickly as possible in order to meet new needs emerging.

Besides the EU Energy Platform, established in April as part of Europe’s plan for a swift end to its reliance on Russian natural gas, the European Commission, in collaboration with the International Energy Agency, has also formed the Technical Support Instrument, a project already involving seventeen EU member states, for the same purpose.

The TSI project is promoting energy source diversification and transmission, biomethane production, international hydrogen trade, roof-mounted solar energy installations, energy efficiency measures, swifter RES licensing procedures, innovative hydrogen solutions, as well as RES projects for the industrial sector.

 

Gov’t confident Brussels will approve wholesale market plan

Government officials are confident the administration’s two-pronged intervention plan for the wholesale and retail electricity markets will soon be approved by the European Commission, enabling implementation as of July 1, despite some reservations expressed over the past few days, government sources involved in the process have told energypress.

Athens’ plan was forwarded to the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Energy and Directorate-General for Competition last Friday, following consultation on technical details between Greek government officials and Brussels.

Details of the Greek proposal are expected to be discussed over the next few days through a teleconference meeting involving technocrats , sourced noted.

Energy minister Kostas Skrekas could also hold talks this week with the head officials of the Directorate-General for Energy and Directorate-General for Competition, to elevate the effort to a political level. A written response to the Greek plan from these Brussels bodies is believed to be imminent.

The Greek government is confident its energy-crisis plan will be approved by Brussels for two reasons. Firstly, Athens’ decision to eliminate, through a related tax, windfall profits earned by electricity producers during the energy crisis is one of the tools proposed by Brussels. Secondly, the Greek plan is not expected to affect transboundary trade as import-export prices will continue to be shaped by wholesale market forces.

 

PM discusses Greek regional gas supply prospects in talks with US president

The crucial role to be played by northeastern Greece’s prospective Alexandroupoli FSRU as a project that promises to help reduce and eliminate the reliance of the Balkans and, by extension, east Europe on Russian gas was stressed during talks between Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and US president Joe Biden in Washington yesterday.

The Greek leader, who stressed that the Alexandroupoli FSRU will be installed at a port just 500 km from the Ukraine border, added the facility, discussed extensively between the two leaders, will play a pivotal role in Europe’s decision to end its reliance on Russian gas.

Mitsotakis also discussed Greece’s ambitious yet not unattainable objective of becoming an energy hub in the Balkans, as a first step, as well as a key player in eastern Europe.

Three prospective LNG terminals – Alexandroupoli FSRU I and II, as well as Dioryga Gas, close to Korinthos, west of Athens – combined with the existing LNG terminal on the islet Revythoussa, just off Athens, that will soon acquire a fourth storage unit, could elevate Greece’s regional role as a main gas supplier in the Balkans and eastern Europe.