Energean plc: 2022 Full-Year Results  

London, 23 March 2023 – Energean plc (LSE: ENOG, TASE: אנאג) has announced its audited full-year results for the year ended 31 December 2022 (“FY 2022“).

Mathios Rigas, Chief Executive of Energean, commented:

2022 was a year of transformation for Energean – where a long-held vision became an operational reality. It was a year of positive delivery. We commenced production from the only FPSO in the strategically vital Eastern Mediterranean region, paid dividends to our shareholders, and laid the foundation for our future growth through the discovery and de-risking of new natural gas resources adjacent to our infrastructure. Energean was the sole owner-operator of five deepwater wells, which drove a 20% increase in our reserve base, and marked the 15th consecutive year of reserve and resource base increases for Energean. We are proud to be on track to deliver between 4.5 and 5.5 bcm of gas into the Israeli domestic gas market this year, contributing towards the security of energy supply of the region and improving the living conditions of the Israeli public through the reduction of emissions from the displacement of coal-fired power generation.

“The first quarter of 2023 has continued the positive trend. Production from Karish is in line with our expectations, and in February we supplied the first Israeli hydrocarbon liquids export cargo to international markets. In Egypt, we achieved first gas at NEA/NI with three further wells due to come onstream during the year. In Italy, we are the third largest producer of natural gas and look forward to increasing our contribution towards the country’s energy supply. And in Greece, we are continuing our efforts to explore the untapped resources of the country.

“The remainder of 2023 will see us present the development concept for the Olympus Area, offshore Israel, and increase the capacity of the Energean Power FPSO to 8 bcm/yr. This is alongside delivery of production in line with guidance and deliver on-target returns, as promised, to our shareholder base. Through our gas contracting strategy we are in a unique position to have a very predictable and stable cashflow despite turbulence and challenges in the international financial markets.

“We are committed to investing in projects where we can create value for all stakeholders. The global energy crisis is not over – the global gas market remains dangerously tight and benefitted from a mild European winter, but thousands of industrial jobs are now at risk not just to price but also to availability. We therefore hope that governments understand the value of enhanced domestic and regional energy production, that can only be delivered through long-term investment.”

Highlights

  • Delivered first gas from Karish in October 2022
    • Production and ramp up in line with expectations
    • Energean is now sequentially notifying gas buyers that the commissioning period under the gas sales and purchase agreements (“GSPAs”) has ended and the start date for commercial obligations has commenced. It expects to have completed this process for all gas buyers by the end of March 2023
  • Initiated hydrocarbon liquid exports from Karish field to international markets
  • Delivered first production from NEA/NI, Egypt, in March 2023
  • On track to deliver 200 kboed production target in 2H 2024
  • Confirmed year-end 2P reserves of 1,161 mmboe (+20% increase versus end-2021) representing a reserve replacement ratio of 1400%
    • Including the addition of 31 bcm (approximately 206 mmboe) of 2P reserves in the Olympus Area, offshore Israel, that have now been certified by Energean’s reserve auditor, Degolyer and McNaughton (“D&M”)
  • Delivered strong financial performance, underpinned by strong commodity prices
    • 2022 revenues of $737.1 million, represented a 48.3% increase (2021: $497.0 million)
    • 2022 EBITDAX of $421.6 million, represented a 98.8% increase (2021: $212.1 million)
    • 2022 profit-after-tax of $17.3 million, was an improvement on last year’s loss (2021: $(96.2) million). Profit after tax was negatively impacted by $119.4 million of windfall taxes in Italy[1], which are expected to have been applied on a one-off basis
    • Group cash as of 31 December 2022 was $502.7 million (including restricted amounts of $74.8 million) and total liquidity was $720.0 million. In March 2023, Energean signed a $350 million term loan providing additional financial flexibility
  • Announced dividend strategy and initiated dividend payments
    • Cumulative dividends paid of 60 US$ cents with a further $30 US$ cents declared and not paid, representing an annualised yield of approximately 9%[2].
  • Carbon Disclosure Project (“CDP”) rating increased to A- (from B), outperforming the global average for E&Ps of C

Outlook

  • 2023 production guidance confirmed at 131 – 158 kboed, including 4.5 – 5.5 bcm of gas from Karish
  • Mid-term targets now considered near-term: on track to achieve production, financial targets, and leverage targets in 2H 2024[3] through execution of key development projects
    • Karish growth projects to increase the capacity of the Energean Power FPSO are on track for year-end 2023, following which Israel production is expected to be more than 140 – 155 kboed
    • Three additional wells to be brought onstream at NEA/NI by year-end 2023, following which production in Egypt is expected to be more than 40 kboed
    • Cassiopea expected to deliver first gas in 2024, following which production in Italy is expected to be approximately 20 kboed
  • Communication of development concept for the Olympus Area expected in the coming months
  • Orion X1 well, Egypt, (Energean 30%, expected to farm down to 18%) expected to spud in late 2023, slightly delayed due to rig availability
  • Declaration of quarterly dividends in line with previously communicated policy
    • $50 million per quarter initially, rising to $100 million per quarter following achievement of near-term targets
    • Cumulative dividends of at least $1 billion by end-2025
    • Post-2025 target to maintain a progressive dividend policy, underpinned by existing reserve volumes

Financial Summary

 

    FY 2022 FY 2021 % Change
Average working interest production kboed 41.2 41.0 0.5%
Sales and other revenue $ million 737.1 497.0 48.3%
Cash Cost of Production $ million 284.3 261.6 8.7%
Adjusted EBITDAX[4] $ million 421.6 212.1 98.8%
Profit/(loss) after tax $ million 17.3 (96.2) 118.0%
         
Capital expenditure $ million 728.8 403.5 80.6%
Exploration expenditure $ million 141.0 48.7 189.5%
Decommissioning expenditure $ million 8.9 2.7 229.6%
         
Cash (including restricted amounts) $ million 502.7 930.5 (46.0%)
Net debt – consolidated $ million 2,518.2 2,016.6 24.9%
Net debt – plc excluding Israel $ million 143.8 102.6 40.2%
Net debt – Israel $ million 2,374.4 1,914.0 24.1%

 [4] During 2022, Italy introduced: 1) a windfall tax in the form of a law decree which imposed a 25% one-off tax on profit margins that rose by more than 5 million euros between October 2021 and April 2022 compared to the same period a year earlier. The amount of the windfall tax paid by Energean Italy was $29.3 million and 2) In November 2022, Italy introduced a new windfall tax that imposed a 50% one-off tax, calculated on 2022 taxable profits that are 10% higher than the average taxable profits between 2018-2021. This amount has a ceiling equal to 25% of the value of the net assets at end-2021. Based on this, Energean would be required to pay an additional one-off tax of €87 million in June 2023.

[4] Based on 21 March 2023 share price of GBp 11.00

[4] On an annualised basis

[4] Adjusted EBITDAX is calculated as profit or loss for the period, adjusted for discontinued operations, taxation, depreciation and amortisation, share-based payment charge, impairment of property, plant and equipment, other income and expenses, net finance costs and exploration and evaluation expenses.

GAP Interconnector promising additional Greek-Egyptian grid link

The GAP Interconnector project, planned to link Egypt with Greece, via Crete, promises to serve as a further step towards transforming Greece into an exporter of green energy to the rest of Europe, officials of the Eunice Group, heading the project, budgeted at 1.3 billion euros, have highlighted at a news conference.

It represents an additional Greek-Egyptian grid interconnection project, following the GREGY Interconnector, a 3.5 billion-euro project being promoted by Elica, a subsidiary of the Copelouzos group.

The GAP Interconnector project promises to reinforce Greece’s geostrategic role, making it a transmission hub to the rest of Europe for RES-generated electricity from Egypt, Andreas Borgeas, the project’s chief executive and a former California Senator, told journalists.

A feasibility study has already been conducted for the GAP Interconnector, as have oceanographic studies to map the areas concerning the project’s route, the Borgeas informed.

Two cables to offer a 2,000-MW capacity and run from coastal Matruh in Egypt to Crete’s Atherinolakko, a distance of approximately 450 kilometers, will serve as the project’s backbone. Converter stations will be installed at both these locations.

The project, whose subsea cable installations will reach as deep as 4,445 meters off Crete and 3,500 meters off Egypt, was described as “challenging” by Borgeas, the project chief, who added advanced deep-sea cable installation technology is now available.

The aim is to establish a multinational consortium for the GAP Interconnector project and induct, as a first step, the US company McDermott, one of the world’s biggest developers of subsea projects, Borgeas informed. French, Greek and Italian companies are also expected to soon join this consortium, the official added.

The GAP Interconnector project and the GREGY Interconnector are not rival projects but they will compete for points concerning PCI-PMI lists, Borgeas pointed out.

A direct, straight-line connection from Egypt to Crete planned for the GAP Interconnector offers it a comparative advantage as it is shorter and subsequently lower in cost, Borgeas noted, adding the project lies entirely within the boundaries of the Greek-Egyptian exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

It is planned to be complemented by the Southern Aegean Interconnector (SAI), a 1.5 billion-euro project to connect Athens, the Dodecanese islands, and Crete.

Greek-US energy agenda focused on 3 projects

Three energy infrastructure projects, the Alexandroupoli FSRU in Greece’s northeast, an oil pipeline running from the Alexandroupoli port to Burgas, on Bulgaria’s Black Sea coast, and a Greek-Egyptian grid interconnection, were focal points in talks yesterday between Greek and American officials, as part of US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken’s official visit to Athens.

The two sides, meeting for the 4th round of a Greece-US Strategic Dialogue, appeared determined to push ahead with the three projects, propelled by Russia’s war on Ukraine, which has prompted Europe to move in a direction ending its reliance on Russian fossil fuels.

It was agreed that Athens and investors need to accelerate efforts for the aforementioned projects to further marginalize Russian energy supply to Europe.

Besides offering full support for the three energy infrastructure projects, US officials also expressed satisfaction about the recent launch of the Greek-Bulgarian IGB gas pipeline as well as ongoing plans for a pipeline to run from Greece to North Macedonia.

However, the US officials kept a distance from the discovery of gas deposits by Israel, Cyprus and Egypt in the east Mediterranean, as well as the East Med gas pipeline plan – which would connect Israel, Cyprus and Greece before crossing to Italy visa the Poseidon pipeline – presumably to avoid upsetting Turkey, despite problems that have weighed down US-Turkish ties of late.

 

US subdued on East Med plan despite anticipated revival

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken has praised Greece’s leading role concerning the region’s energy transition in his opening remarks at the start of the 4th round of the Greece-US Strategic Dialogue, while underlining that the US is grateful for Greece’s unwavering support for Ukraine.

“Greece’s transition is a model for the region,” Blinken stressed, recalling that renewable energy sources such as wind and solar have, in recent times, provided half of Greece’s electricity needs, which he said was equivalent to taking 3 million cars off the roads.

The US Secretary of State also praised Greece’s role in supporting neighboring countries to diversify their energy sources by reducing their dependence on Russia, such as Bulgaria.

However, the US appears unmoved by Israel’s renewed interest for the development of the East Med gas pipeline, which would connect Israel, Cyprus and Greece before crossing to Italy visa the Poseidon pipeline. This project would greatly contribute to Europe’s efforts aiming to end the continent’s reliance on Russia for fossil fuels.

Contrary to expectations, the East Med project has not been included on the agenda of talks for Blinken’s official two-day visit to Athens, today and tomorrow, reliable sources informed.

Roughly a year ago, the US had announced it could not support this pipeline project, attributing this stance to a lack of feasibility. But the country’s willingness to maintain a balance in its regional geopolitical interests, especially between Greece and Turkey, is most likely the underlying reason.

Despite difficulties faced in its ties with Turkey, the US appears unwilling to support a regional gas pipeline project that would sideline this NATO ally.

Israel injecting new life into East Med gas pipeline project

The newly elected Israeli government appears set to inject new life into the prospective East Med gas pipeline, its interest emerging one year after the US had announced it would no longer support the project, a stance now likely to be revised.

Israeli foreign minister Eli Cohen expressed the country’s interest in the project to his Greek counterpart Nikos Dendias during the latter’s official visit to Israel earlier this week.

The prospective pipeline is planned to cover a total distance of 2,000 kilometers, of which over 1,400 kilometers will run underwater, to connect Israel, Cyprus and Greece before crossing to Italy visa the Poseidon pipeline, a 210-kilometer stretch.

“We agreed to the exportation of Israeli gas through Greece and Cyprus, which will reach all of Europe. At a time of global energy crisis, it will strengthen our international position and bring a lot of money to the country,” Cohen, Israel’s foreign minister, announced following his meeting with his Greek counterpart.

Reiterating this interest, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has returned to the country’s top post after his Likud party formed a coalition with ultranationalist and ultra-Orthodox Jewish allies, announced that he instructed the head of Israel’s National Security Council to initiate a trilateral meeting of the leaders of Greece, Israel and Cyprus for energy-related talks.

Tel Aviv is seeking to reimpose itself as a force in eastern Mediterranean energy matters.

The East Med gas pipeline plan is likely to be on the agenda when US secretary of state Antony Blinken visits Athens on February 21 and 22.

East Med has gained renewed significance as Europe is looking for alternative sources of natural gas and major oil companies, especially US firms such as ExxonMobil, focusing on a venture south of Crete, are involved in hydrocarbon exploration efforts in the eastern Mediterranean.

Given the strained Israeli-Turkish ties, Israeli officials know well that the development of a gas pipeline across Turkey is not a viable option.

Energean moving ahead with wider exploration and development plan

Energean is moving ahead with its exploration and development program both in Israel and in other Mediterranean markets following the commencement of production at its Karish field, offshore Israel, and positive results from the neighboring “Zeus” and “Hermes” wells.

Energean has reported significant developments regarding the installation of a second processing line at its Karish North field, which promises to upgrade production to 8 billion cubic meters and 32,000 barrels of oil in total. The upgrades are expected to be completed by the end of 2023.

Along with its first-half results, the company has noted its next step is first gas production from the NEA/NI license in Egypt. Subsea installations have been completed and gas production is expected to commence by the end of this year.

Meanwhile, Energean plans to conduct four more drilling efforts at its Abu Qir licence, also in Egypt, in 2023 and 2024.

As for its offshore Cassiopea license in Italy’s Strait of Sicily, Energean plans to begin gas production in the first half of 2024 with an objective to boost its production in Italy from 9,300 bpd at present to 20,000 bpd.

Energean has made two important discoveries at its Athena and Zeus offshore Israel licenses, both west of Karish. The Athena field has been certified, by an independent appraiser, as having potential reserves (2C) of 11.75 bcm of natural gas, while, two weeks ago, an initial estimate of 13.3 bcm of natural gas was made for the Zeus field.

Energean has also made a third discovery further south, at Block 31 (Hermes deposit), estimated to be holding between 7 and 15 billion cubic meters. Drilling at the Hercules well, in the same area, has been in progress over the past few weeks.

Energean has announced it will have a report, from an independent appraiser, on the potential of new discoveries in early 2023, the company’s aim being to present a specific development plan in the first half of the year.

Options being considered for additional volumes include the sale of additional gas to the Israeli market, exports to Egypt, as well as exports to Cyprus with the prospect of liquefaction for sales of quantities to European markets.

Energean has already signed contracts for the supply of 7.2 billion cubic meters of gas to Israel. Significant quantities are expected to start reaching customers in 2023.

Gas-fueled power stations output down, Italy imports up

The energy-mix share of gas-fueled power stations has contracted significantly as a result of the country’s rigid month-ahead pricing method used for natural gas, which prevented electricity producers from taking advantage of falling spot market prices throughout October. Gas prices remained fixed at higher price levels recorded at the end of September.

Given the circumstances, energy companies chose to shut off gas-fueled power stations in significant numbers. This resulted in a sharp increase of electricity imports from Italy, where, as is also the case in other European markets, the spot market greatly influences gas price levels.

Italy’s day-ahead electricity market was below that of Greece’s throughout October, ending the month at 211.63 euros per MWh, compared to 232.6 euros per MWh in Greece, Europe’s highest, despite a 44 percent drop from September.

Gas-fueled power stations in Greece ended up representing just 23 percent of the energy mix in October, well below usual levels of around 40 percent.

Energean set for seismic survey at Ionian Sea’s block 2

A consortium comprising Energean and Helleniq Energy, formerly Hellenic Petroleum, is set to begin a seismic survey at the Ionian Sea’s block 2, adjacent to Italian territory in the Adriatic Sea, reliable sources have informed energypress.

Norwegian company PGS will collect 3D data covering an area of 2,000 square kilometers with its Ramform Hyperion seismic vessel, following orders by Energean, the operator, the sources added.

The Hellenic Navy has issued a Navtex, offering navigational and meteorological warnings and forecasts, for the seismic survey, to be conducted a long way off the coast, by the sea border shared with Italy.

The Energean – Helleniq Energy consortium has decided to conduct this offshore survey at block 2 in the Ionian Sea following a government decision last spring to accelerate Greece’s exploration plan for the identification of potential natural gas deposits. The 3D seismic data to be acquired will replace existing 2D data.

The upcoming effort promises to be the sixth seismic survey to be conducted in Greece over the past seven years following surveys at Prinos in 2015, the Gulf of Patras in 2016, Ioannina in 2018-2019, and at blocks in the Ionian Sea and Gulf of Kyparissia-northwest Peloponnese last spring.

 

Energy crisis gap bridging the main aim at today’s EU summit

The EU’s 27 leaders participating at today’s EU summit will strive to heal divisions that have created blocs within Europe for energy crisis solutions rather than seek finalized solutions on how price levels could de-escalate.

The EU-27 will be asked to agree to European Commission proposals announced yesterday. They include collective natural gas orders for reinforced bargaining power and prevention of bidding wars by fellow EU member states for LNG quantities, as well as a supplementary gas benchmark offering a more accurate reflection of market conditions.

A Brussels request concerning a temporary price cap on gas used for electricity generation, a strategy already adopted by Spain and Portugal, is expected to be contested by the EU leaders.

Brussels considers the proposal for a price cap on gas used for electricity production should be further examined, judging by European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen’s comments in European Parliament yesterday.

France, using minimal amounts of gas for electricity generation as a result of its considerable nuclear capacity, has expressed support for such a plan. Germany accepts it but Greece, Italy, Belgium and other EU member states object as a result of the significant fiscal cost entailed.

Some EU members favoring a general price cap on gas, including Greece and, more recently, the Netherlands, are expected to remain adamant on their  preferred approach at today’s summit.

Germany strongly opposes a general price cap on gas, fearing it will repel gas suppliers and push up prices as a result of reduced supply and higher demand.

Wholesale power up 238% in second quarter, EU’s second-highest rise

Greece’s wholesale electricity price registered Europe’s second-biggest annual increase in the second quarter of 2022, compared to the equivalent period a year earlier, soaring 238 percent, a new report published by the European Commission has shown.

France topped the list with a 254-percent increase over the same period, while Italy was ranked third-highest, its wholesale electricity price rising 234 percent between the second quarters of 2021 and 2022.

Greece’s 238-percent increase resulted in the country having the third-highest wholesale electricity price in the EU in the second quarter this year, at 237 euros per MWh, behind Malta, at 252 euros per MWh, and Italy, at 249 euros per MWh.

Elsewhere in the EU, Bulgaria’s wholesale electricity price in the second quarter this year was 199.9 euros per MWh, France registered 226.3 euros per MWh, and Germany was at 187.1 euros per MWh, the report showed.

As for industrial energy prices, without taxes, Greece topped the list in the second quarter. Electricity prices for mid-size industrial consumers rose by 194 percent in Greece between the second quarters of 2021 and 2022, to 34.5 cents per KWh, the highest in the EU.

In the household category, Greece’s electricity prices, including taxes and fees, were ranked 10th in the EU, at 30.46 euros per KW/h, above the EU average of 28.62 euros per KW/h, following the second-biggest annual increase, 81 percent, exceeded only by Estonia.

Subsidies were not taken into account for this report. During the energy crisis, Greece has so far offered the highest amount of subsidies as a percentage of GDP.

 

EU gas price cap hopes set back, weekend talks needed

A mild winter ahead appears to be the only cost-containment hope left for European consumers following yesterday’s failure by the EU’s 27 energy ministers to reach an agreement on an adjustable gas price cap or some other drastic measure that could ease the pressure of the energy crisis.

Yesterday’s impasse greatly diminishes the possibility of an agreement at the forthcoming EU summit, a two-day meeting scheduled for October 20 and 21.

However, officials will continue making efforts ahead of next week’s EU summit. The European Commissioner for Energy Kadri Simson, reacting to yesterday’s failure by EU energy ministers to reach an agreement, said talks for a solution would carry on over the weekend.

Greece, along with Belgium, Italy and Poland, have been the most supportive of a gas price cap.

German and Dutch resistance appeared to have softened in recent days, seemingly bridging the gap between the EU’s two opposing sides for and against the measure. But German officials, citing an inability for agreement within their own ranks, informed Greek officials that a gas price cap agreement is not on the cards.

 

EU energy ministers agreement in Prague today highly unlikely

Today’s extraordinary meeting of EU energy ministers in Prague, their third informal session since early September, appears unlikely to produce agreements on unresolved issues, including a decision for a temporary price cap on gas.

Participants have remained subdued ahead of this latest session, which is indicative of the lack of progress. The feared stagnancy is believed to have prompted officials to seriously consider a fourth extraordinary meeting of EU energy ministers – since early September – ahead of the next EU summit, scheduled for October 20.

This all essentially means that serious energy-crisis disagreements continue to divide the EU’s 27 member states, despite the fact that many leaders claimed positive steps were taken at last Friday’s informal summit.

The seemingly fruitless situation has been confirmed by sources associated with European Commissioner for Energy Kadri Simson and further backed by the absence of any announcement.

Disagreement over an adjustable price cap on gas is the main dispute. The proposal will be further discussed today by the EU’s energy ministers. Greece and four other EU member states, Belgium, Italy, Poland and Spain, are the most supportive members of the plan.

 

Political agreement sought for gas price cap, eyes on Germany

Though no gas price-cap decision is expected at today’s informal EU meeting of heads of state, participants will be expected to establish the basis for a political agreement at the European Council meeting on October 20.

All eyes are on Germany following a significant step taken by the European Commission to adopt a proposal forwarded by 15 EU member states supporting a price cap on gas. The German government now appears to the considering the proposal but an agreement is not yet guaranteed.

If Berlin is to accept the gas price cap proposal, assurances will be needed on how the risk of LNG shipments straying to Asian markets – where buyers appear willing to offer whatever sums are necessary to secure shipments, instead of staying in Europe – may be eliminated.

Another issue the German government would want addressed to offer its consent concerns how a rise in gas demand, as a result of lower prices, can be prevented.

Disagreement between Berlin and other EU member states on a gas price cap has now somewhat softened. The matter is gradually shifting away from the political sphere and closer to market reality.

Greece, Belgium, Italy, Poland and Spain, the five EU member states most supportive of a price cap on natural gas, represent the nucleus of the 15 member states calling for a gas price cap and are working feverishly on a flexible proposal to be forwarded to the European Commission as soon as possible.

Germany considering price cap, gas usage drop a condition

The German government now appears to be considering an EU proposal for a price cap on gas ahead of tomorrow’s informal EU meeting of heads of state, but Berlin’s acceptance of such an initiative would be conditional, requiring a compulsory and significant reduction in gas consumption levels throughout the EU.

Germany’s Vice Chancellor Robert Habeck, who heads the country’s energy portfolio, set this condition during a meeting yesterday with the energy ministers of Greece, Belgium, Italy, Poland and Spain, representing the five EU member states most supportive of a price cap on natural gas.

The European Commission’s recent proposal for an optional reduction in gas consumption would need to be made compulsory if Berlin is to accept a price cap on gas, Habeck told the five energy ministers, according to sources.

Despite Germany’s softer stance, work is still needed if a price cap on gas is to be implemented. An official decision cannot be reached at tomorrow’s EU meeting of heads of state as it is an informal session.

It will be followed by another informal meeting in Prague next Tuesday between the EU’s energy ministers.

Brussels is also working on the establishment of a new benchmark for natural gas that better reflects Europe’s new energy reality in which LNG, not pipeline gas, is now the dominant gas source.

Firmest gas price cap backers in talks with German minister

The energy ministers of Greece, Belgium, Italy, Poland and Spain, representing the five EU member states most supportive of a price cap on natural gas, are scheduled to stage a teleconference with their German counterpart Robert Habeck today to analyze their price-cap proposal in an effort to overcome Germany’s resistance.

Berlin’s opposition to a European gas price cap and unilateral announcement of a 200 billion-euro national package for the energy crisis have disappointed many European governments, going into an informal EU meeting of heads of state this Friday with little hope of bold decisions.

EU member states are generally feeling increasingly frustrated by Germany’s refusal to back a collective European decision for the energy crisis, a stance Berlin will not be able to keep justifying.

According to sources, the group of five’s gas price cap proposal is set at a level that would ensure gas suppliers do not turn their backs on Europe and send their tankers to markets in Asia, where demand is set to rise in the lead-up to winter.

To guarantee supply to Europe, the continent’s price cap level will need to be set slightly higher than price levels at Asian energy exchanges.

 

DEPA Commercial gas storage in Italy, Bulgaria, 200,000 MWh

DEPA Commercial has stored away, at facilities in neighboring Bulgaria and Italy, natural gas quantities for a total of 200,000 MWh, slightly less than one third of the 622,440 MWh the company is expected to store through a Preventive Action Plan established by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy.

DEPA Commercial began its effort by storing natural gas at Bulgaria’s Chiren facility and, over the past 15 days or so, has also been storing away gas quantities in Italy.

DEPA Commercial, like all main gas suppliers licensed to use the country’s gas network, is expected to make these gas reserves available for all of the upcoming winter period, or, more specifically, from November to March.

These gas reserve amounts stocked up through the Preventive Action Plan are planned to play a protective role should Moscow make changes to deliveries of pipeline gas quantities.

Gas suppliers whose imports represent no more than 1 percent of the country’s total gas imports have been exempted from RAE’s gas storage requirement.

DEPA Commercial is Greece’s biggest gas importer, requiring the company to establish gas reserves for 622,440 MWh. The top three include Mytilineos, which must store away gas for 267,900 MWh and Promitheas Gas with 137,940 MWh.

 

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.

 

 

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.

 

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.

 

 

European gas storage units nearly 70% full, on course for October target

Europe’s gas storage facilities are estimated to be close to 70 percent full in early August, according to data provided by Gas Infrastructure Europe (GIE), representing the continent’s gas infrastructure operators.

Europe’s gas storage units continued being filled at a rapid rate in late July, despite the reduction of Gazprom’s gas supply through the Nord Stream I pipeline, now operating at just 20 percent of capacity.

Given the continent’s current gas storage levels, European authorities are confident an 80 percent objective can be achieved by early October. However, storage level discrepancies between EU member states remains a challenge that needs to be dealt with.

German gas storage units are now 70 percent full, while the level in Italy is higher, at 73 percent. On the contrary, gas storage facility levels are far lower elsewhere, registering 48 percent in Bulgaria, 24 percent in Ukraine and 53 percent in Croatia.

FSU at Revythoussa LNG unit, Italy storage solution advances

An FSU has been licensed and installed at gas grid operator DESFA’s LNG terminal on the islet Revythoussa, just off Athens, boosting the facility’s overall capacity to 370,000 cubic meters.

The new floating storage unit’s installation at the Revythoussa terminal comes as part of the country’s energy security effort for protection should Russia disrupt its gas supply. In addition, it will also be used to serve the needs of neighboring countries.

Other steps are also being taken as part of the national energy security plan.

Greek and Italian officials have reached an advanced stage in talks for maintenance of Greek gas reserves at 1.14 TWh at an underground storage facility in the neighboring country. According to sources, the two sides are set to sign a related Memorandum of Cooperation.

The European Commission requires all EU member states without – or without sufficient – natural gas storage facilities, such as Greece, to store by November 1, gas quantities representing 15 percent of annual consumption at existing storage facilities maintained by fellow member states.

Electricity producers operating generators with dual combustion units (natural gas and diesel) are soon expected to take part in an energy ministry meeting to examine fuel-storage issues. This session could take place tomorrow.

 

 

Wholesale power price reaches new record level, €466/MWh today

The wholesale electricity market’s day-ahead market price has reached a new record level of 466 euros per MWh for Monday, up from 426 euros per MWh on Friday.

The maximum price has soared to 686 euros, while the minimum price is at 261 euros, demand close to 202 GWh.

Natural gas represents 43.1 percent of the energy mix, followed by renewables (23%), lignite (13%), hydropower (9.5%) and imports (8%).

As for the country’s neighbors, the wholesale electricity price is at 460 euros in Bulgaria and 527 euros in Italy.

 

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.

 

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.

 

Italian gas storage up to 2 TWh from October for 5 months

Greek authorities are taking steps to prepare for a gas-storage solution ahead of next winter in neighboring Italy, in accordance with EU rules, requiring all member states without – or without sufficient – natural gas storage facilities, such as Greece, to store, by November 1, gas quantities representing 15 percent of annual consumption, based on last year’s level, at existing storage facilities maintained by fellow member states.

Based on this requirement and the country’s consumption level last year, Greece will need to store a total of approximately 900 million cubic meters of gas, or 8 TWh, of which up to 2 TWh will be stored at Italian facilities from October for a five-month period.

Storage costs for such a quantity are expected to reach 250 million euros, under favorable conditions.

A related proposal forwarded by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, will undergo consultation before final decisions on the country’s gas storage plan are made.

 

Minister: ‘Revythoussa FSU launch by end of this month’

An FSU installation at the Revythoussa LNG terminal on the islet just off Athens will begin operating by the end of this month, energy minister Kostas Skrekas has told an Economist conference.

This LNG’s resulting capacity boost, combined with the development of northeastern Greece’s Alexandroupoli FSRU, now under construction, will upgrade the country’s gasification capacity to 15 bcm annually, a level ensuring Greece’s energy sufficiency as well as supply of quantities to neighboring countries.

Greek gas exports to Bulgaria are already covering as much as 80 percent of the neighboring country’s daily gas needs.

Skrekas, at the conference, also made note of Greece’s potential as a gas and green energy hub in the region. Interconnection projects with neighboring countries will play a pivotal role.

Greece’s plans include upgrading a connection with Albania within the next few years, as well as electricity interconnections with Bulgaria and Italy. In addition, a prospective electricity grid interconnection with Egypt promises to facilitate the transportation of up to 3 GW from the north African country to Greece and, by extension, the rest of Europe.

The minister also made note of the IGB pipeline to be inaugurated this Friday by prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis ahead of its launch by the end of the month.

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.

 

Lower-cost gas storage option for 15% of annual use sought

The energy ministry is seeking lower-cost solutions to satisfy a European Commission order requiring all EU member states without – or without sufficient – natural gas storage facilities, such as Greece, to store by November 1, gas quantities representing 15 percent of annual consumption at existing storage facilities maintained by fellow member states.

A 15 percent proportion of Greece’s annual gas consumption represents approximately 900 million cubic meters. Its supply cost, alone, is worth roughly 700 million euros, based on current prices.

Besides the cost concerns expressed by energy ministry officials over an idea to use Italian storage facilities, companies active in Greece’s wholesale gas market are also troubled.

The head official of one domestic gas wholesaler described the cost of moving ahead with the Italian plan as forbiddingly high, adding that it would be far more preferable to rent as many additional floating storage units as are needed for mooring at Greece’s LNG terminal on the islet Revythoussa, just off Athens.

Unclear EU stance on Moscow’s ruble payment demand for gas

The European Commission appears to be deliberately maintaining an unclear stance on Moscow’s demand for natural gas supply payments in the ruble currency, an in-between position that presently enables European companies to abide by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s related decree without breaching EU sanctions imposed on Russia.

Yesterday’s EU council meeting of energy ministers for a common European stance on Russia’s ruble-currency payment demand for Gazprom natural gas failed to produce an agreement, instead maintaining the ambiguity that has hovered in recent weeks.

European Commissioner for Energy Kadri Simson reiterated that payments for Russian natural gas in the ruble currency would represent a violation of European sanctions on Russia, and, as a result would not be accepted. However, she did not offer specific advice on how European companies should make their payments for Russian natural gas when the next round of payments are due. Simson ascertained that clearer directions would soon be issued, without specifying when.

Italian minister for Ecological Transition Roberto Cingolani has allegedly supported that European companies must be given the ability, at least temporarily, to conform to Russia’s payment demands, according to a Politico report.

However, the Italian government has denied that Rome is preparing to make ruble-currency gas payments to Russia, describing the Politico reports as misleading.

 

 

 

Talks in progress for Italy’s East Med gas pipeline entry

Talks are in progress for Italy’s official entry into the East Med gas pipeline project, a prospective 2,000-km pipeline planned to carry natural gas to Europe via Greece, Cyprus, Israel and Italy, energypress sources have informed.

Greece, Cyprus and Israel signed an agreement for the project’s development in 2020, without Italy’s participation, as the country’s government at the time, citing environmental issues, had reacted against the project reaching its shores.

Italy’s current Prime Minister, Mario Draghi, recently stressed that the East Med gas pipeline needs to be pursued as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The project has now gained political support in Italy, through a resolution issued in parliament urging the government to co-sign the transboundary agreement, energypress sources informed.

Italy has revised its stance on the East Med project as a result of a recent EU-27 decision to drastically reduce Europe’s reliance on Russian natural gas.

Italy could officially announce, in May, its intention to co-sign the East Med agreement, sources informed.