Skourletis, Hochstein talk pipelines, LNG terminal and DESFA

Environment and Energy Minister Panos Skourletis and Amos Hochstein, the US Special Envoy and Coordinator for International Energy Affairs, have held a new meeting to discuss a range of key mutual energy-sector interests.

Emphasis was placed on the progress of the TAP (Trans Adriatic Pipeline) natural gas project, the prospects of the IGB, the Greek-Bulgarian interconnector, as well as a plan for the development of a floating LNG station in Alexandroupoli, strategically located in northeastern Greece to serve the wider Balkan area.

The two officials also exchanged views on the South Corridor, to incorporate the TAP project, running through northern Greece and Albania to Italy.

Skourletis reportedly spoke extensively on the government’s plan to transform Greece into an energy hub that may serve the wider region. Besides the trading and economic dimensions, this objective has the potential to bolster traditional ties and establish new ones, he noted.

The two officials, who were accompanied by associates, also discussed the long-running and unfinished sale of DESFA, Greece’s natural gas grid operator.

Azeri energy company Socar had agreed to purchase a 66 percent stake of DESFA after winning an international tender in 2013, but, more recently, the European Commission intervened to demand that a 17 percent share be offered to a certified European operator, which would reduce the Azeri firm’s control to 49 percent.