DESFA 10-year plan approved, virtual pipelines not included

Gas grid operator DESFA’s ten-year development plan has been approved by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, following a lengthy procedure, including consultation, that lasted several months.

A virtual pipeline proposal envisioning LNG supply to Crete, the north Aegean islands and the Dodecanese via tankers from the operator’s Revythoussa terminal just off Athens was left out of the approved plan. This is the ten-year plan’s only notable change compared to the draft forwarded for consultation.

LNG virtual pipelines serve as a substitute for conventional gas pipelines to enable the transport of LNG to points of use by sea, road or a combination of these.

The virtual pipeline proposal was removed from the DESFA ten-year plan following concerns expressed by consultation participants over higher surcharge costs for consumers that could have been imposed as part of the project’s cost recovery procedure.

The gas grid operator’s ten-year plan includes, for the first time, a natural gas outlet along the TAP route for the west Macedonia region in Greece’s north.

This TAP outlet, a project budgeted at 3 million euros and expected to be launched late in 2022, is intended to supply natural gas to the area’s provincial cities of Kozani, Ptolemaida, Florina and Amynteo for use at telethermal facilities as well as other energy needs in the post-lignite era.

The area’s telethermal system currently relies on energy produced by power utility PPC’s lignite-fired power stations, soon set for withdrawal as part of the country’s decarbonization effort.


North Aegean electricity options estimated between €600m-1bn

The cost of developing various project alternatives for the electricity needs of the country’s islands in the North Aegean, currently non-interconnected, ranges between 600 million and one billion euros, according to a study conducted by the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA) for RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy.

The study presents ten electrification proposals for the North Aegean islands, including floating and land-based facilities. The costliest alternative, budgeted at one billion euros, envisions an LNG gasification facility combined with a power plant.

The cost of converting existing units in the region so that they may run on natural gas is comparable to the cost of interconnecting the islands, the NTUA study indicated.

Islands examined in the study include Ikaria, Agathonisi, Samos, Lesvos, Limnos, Chios and Skyros.

The interconnection of the North Aegean islands has, for the time being, not been included in power grid operator IPTO’s ten-year plan. However, the operator is believed to be extremely interested in becoming involved.

Meanwhile, the gas utility DEPA, in conjunction with the main power utility PPC, is looking at a plan entailing the transportation of small LNG shipments from large terminals to regional terminals and storage stations in areas detached from the country’s gas network.

Spain’s Enagás, whose Greek market interests have grown since its recent acquisition of a stake in the natural gas grid operator DESFA, is also eyeing projects in the North Aegean.

PPC seeking natural gas retail, wholesale, infrastructure roles

RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, has issued a natural gas supply license to the main power utility PPC, the authority has officially announced, paving the way for the electricity company to pursue a revised business plan for the future that is expected to include penetration into the natural gas sector’s retail and wholesale markets, as well as involvement in major-scale gas infrastructure projects.

PPC is preparing its entry into the natural gas market, a development that promises to transform the corporation from a natural gas consumer to a key player, PPC’s deputy chief Stavros Goutsos stressed.

At present, the power utility is the country’s biggest natural gas consumer, requiring approximately 1.4 bcm for electricity generation needs, from 4.8 bcm of the country’s total for this purpose.

According to energypress sources, PPC is examining the prospect of taking part in major natural gas sector projects such as the Kavala gas storage facility, the FSRU in Alexandroupoli, CNG development around the country, as well as small-scale LNG infrastructure development for supply to the islands.

The same sources informed that PPC is also looking to become involved in the LNG spot market as its plans include importing LNG shipments.

As for the retail gas market, PPC is striving to offer combined gas and electricity packages to consumers by October. Rival firms are already offering such combined packages.

PPC will aim for a retail gas market share of around 30 percent given its substantial client base in the electricity market. The firm is taking its cue from similar moves taken by major power firms around Europe that have also entered natural gas markets. The growth prospects promised by the Greek gas market represent a key incentive.


Enagas team here to discuss LNG island supply involvement

A team of highly ranked officials of Scale Gas, a subsidiary of Enagás Internacional, part of a three-member consortium taking part in an international tender offering a 66 percent stake of DESFA, Greece’s natural gas grid operator, is in Athens to discuss the possibility of entering an LNG supply project for the islands, energypress officials have informed.

DEPA, the the public gas corporation, has signed an MoU with the main power utility PPC for this project. The visiting Scale Gas officials are expected to hold meetings with DEPA, PPC and DESFA officials.

Enagás is already interested in the Greek market, as highlighted by its participation in the DESFA tender.

Enagás has joined forces with Italy’s Snam and Belgium’s Fluxys for the DESFA tender. Their rival team is comprised of Spain’s Regasificadora del Noroeste (Reganosa Asset Investments), Romania’s Transgaz and the EBRD, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

The binding offers submitted by two bidding teams will most likely be opened next week. A further delay has not been ruled out. An extensive check of bid details by TAIPED, the state privatization fund, has delayed the disclosure of offers.

DEPA recently presented its LNG supply plan, an SSLNG (Small Scale LNG) supply project involving the transfer of small LNG quantities from large terminals to regional terminal and storage facilities by vessels as a means of servicing distant areas detached from the natural gas grid.

The Revythoussa LNG terminal on the islet just off Athens, now being upgraded into a bigger facility, is expected to play a key role in this LNG supply plan for the islands, and, furthermore, for shipping fuel supply.

A committee assembled by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, for interconnection projects concluded that LNG represents an optimal solution for large islands, such as those of the northeast Aegean Sea.

Enagás, Europe’s biggest LNG supplier, possesses extensive knowhow in this domain. The Spanish company operates a total of seven LNG terminals in Barcelona, Huelva, Cartagena, Gijón, Bilbao and at Sagunto port. Enagás also fully owns Gascan, currently developing two liquefaction stations on the Canary Islands.