Copelouzos: Alexandroupoli FSRU to transport gas to Ukraine

Gastrade, the consortium established by the Copelouzos group for the development and operation of the Alexandroupoli FSRU, a floating LNG terminal now being developed in Greece’s northeast, will also install an additional FSRU unit at the location, the group’s chief, Dimitris Copelouzos has asserted in comments to media, noting the facility will be capable of transporting natural gas to Ukraine.

According to sources, the Copelouzos group has already held preliminary talks with officials of the embattled country on the prospect of natural gas supply from Greece’s northeast.

A second Alexandroupoli FSRU is expected to be completed in 2025, as an addition to the first terminal at the location, now nearing completion.

The Copelouzos group chief, asked by journalists on the route to be used for transporting natural gas to Ukraine, responded: “Via the pipeline that is now empty,” a reference to the Trans Balkan Pipeline, which transported Russian gas to Greece through the Sidirokastro entry point in the country’s northeast until early 2020.

This route was replaced by Turk Stream in early 2020 so that Ukraine could be bypassed.

The Trans Balkan Pipeline runs from Russia, crossing Ukraine, Moldova and Bulgaria, before branching out to Greece and Turkey.

Investments, including compressor stations in Bulgaria, will be needed to fully utilize the capacity offered by the Trans Balkan Pipeline, sources pointed out.

PPC takeover of ENEL Romania could be just weeks away

Power utility PPC, currently conducting due diligence for its planned acquisition of Italian energy group ENEL’s Romanian subsidiary ENEL Romania, has completed about 70 percent of the procedure, without issues, and could strike a deal within the next two to four weeks.

If the two sides do reach an agreement, PPC will fully acquire the Italian group’s Romanian subsidiary, a big move facilitating the Greek utility’s plan for expansion into the Balkan energy market with Romania, the region’s fastest growing economy, as a base.

An agreement between PPC and ENEL Romania would offer the former full control of ENEL Romania’s assets, regardless of the subsidiary’s varying stakes in network, supply and RES projects, ranging from 51 to 100 percent. ENEL holds the managerial rights to all its ventures in Romania, also included in the sale.

PPC officials have ruled out any chance of also expressing interest in ENEL’s interests in the Greek market. Asset prices in the Greek market greatly exceed those in Balkan markets, they explained.

An ENEL Romania deal would offer PPC three million customers in Romania as an addition to the company’s five million existing customers in Greece.

It would also offer PPC access to rich natural gas deposits in the Black Sea, while a Romanian venture would be supplied favorably-priced LNG arriving at Greek ports – currently via the Revythoussa islet terminal just off Athens and, in the near future, through a prospective FSRU at Alexandroupoli, northeastern Greece.

TTF drop over, gas prices on the rebound, analysts forecast

Natural gas prices, up 20 percent over the past week on levels that had plunged to less than 65 euros per MWh in the last month, are establishing a new upward trajectory, market experts believe.

Colder weather anticipated around Europe over the next few months, a slight drop in gas storage facility reserves around the continent, as well as slightly higher prices offered by Asian buyers, already attracting some LNG shipments to China, now moving again after letting go of its zero-Covid policy, are the key factors seen putting an end to the recent decline in gas prices.

The combined effect of these factors is expected to maintain natural gas prices at levels of between 70 and 80 euros per MWh. Natural gas was priced at 74.80 euros per MWh on the TTF index yesterday, a rise based on expectation rather than any substantial change in current market conditions.

Natural gas storage capacities in Europe have now dropped to an average of 83.5 percent after reaching levels of 95.5 percent of capacity in November.

Though gas prices are currently roughly 40 percent below levels of 120 to 130 euros per MWh recorded this time last year, market volatility is expected to remain a concern in 2023, market analysts told energypress.

Price levels, they have forecast, will soon climb back up to levels of more than 100 euros per MWh before falling again next autumn, when gas storage facilities have been refilled to 90 percent of capacity.

Natural gas prices tumble to 12-month low, crucial period still ahead

European natural gas prices tumbled to 65 euros per MWh yesterday, a new 12-month low last reached in mid-January, 2022, prior to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The price drop has been attributed to mild European winter conditions, so far, that have flattened demand and kept the continent’s energy storage facilities 84 percent full, well above the level recorded a year ago and approximately 30 percent higher than the average level recorded over the past five years.

Analysts insist European market conditions remain fragile, despite the favorable price trajectory of natural gas so far this winter. A sudden change of weather conditions, combined with a complete disruption of Russian gas supply to Europe, could spark a new round of price volatility and deplete European gas reserves by the end of winter, analysts have warned.

The European energy market, experts have long pointed out, will face its toughest test in spring, when EU member states will begin efforts to refill their gas storage facilities in preparation for the winter of 2023-2024.

This refilling period could once again spike natural gas prices to levels of 120 euros per MWh, analysts have noted. Russian pipeline gas supply is expected to be considerably lower in spring, while the LNG market, on which Europe now greatly depends, is expected to be tight in spring.

A worst-case scenario for Europe would combine a complete disruption of Russian natural gas supply with an increase of LNG demand in the Chinese market. Such a combination would prompt a natural gas shortage estimated to reach as much as 57 billion cubic meters, or 15 percent of projected demand.

PPC ‘transforming rapidly, entering natural gas, LNG market’

Power utility PPC’s participation at the 22nd World LNG Summit indicates the energy group is transforming rapidly, on many levels, one of these being its involvement in natural gas and LNG markets, Konstantinos Nazos, PPC’s General Director of Energy Management, has pointed out in comments to energypress.

“It is a very interesting conference and I think the fact that it is being held in Athens highlights the role that our country has to play in the future in terms of LNG and, more generally, electricity supply security in the wider region,” Nazos noted.

Energy security, in relation to sustainability and cost-effectiveness of solutions, is the most challenging matter that needs to be resolved, the PPC official determined, having heard summit speeches and held meetings during this event.

“We are still close to the crisis. We have successfully dealt with many risks without having left it behind. We have managed to turn those risks into opportunities and we are looking for more,” Nazos commented.

 

Four LNG shipments planned for Revythoussa terminal in January

Four LNG shipments totaling 443,130 cubic meters are scheduled to be delivered to gas grid operator DESFA’s LNG terminal on the islet Revythoussa, just off Athens, in January, a quantity that is roughly half the amount planned for this month.

More specifically, for January, the Mytilineos group has ordered an LNG shipment of 147,710 cubic meters, gas utility DEPA has placed an order for 73,855 cubic meters, Elpedison has ordered 147,710 cubic meters and Swiss company KOLMAR has ordered an LNG shipment of 73,855 cubic meters.

 

 

Greece becoming a key gas exporter, rise in loads relayed

Greece is developing into a major exporter of natural gas with roughly one in three shipments that reach the country relayed to other countries, well over last year’s level of 9.8 percent.

Russia’s war on Ukraine has increased the geostrategic importance of Europe’s south, including Greece, in terms of gas transportation, supply routes from the continent’s south to north now dominant, a reversal of the flow in previous decades.

LNG shipments to Greece supply a large number of landlocked European countries, all the way north to Ukraine. As a result, Greece’s gas exports have skyrocketed in 2022.

In the first eleven months this year, the country’s gas exports reached 26 TWh, more than triple the level recorded for all of 2021, when the year’s gas exports totaled 7.6 TWh.

Greece’s gas exports are expected to rise even more in 2023 as a result of last October’s launch of the IGB pipeline running from Greece to Bulgaria.

Technical solutions are now being sought so that gas exports can also be made via the IGB pipeline as soon as the Alexandroupoli FSRU, a project led by Gastrade, is launched in late 2023. The Alexandroupoli LNG terminal’s arrival will further boost Greece’s capacity to export gas.

 

 

Greek LNG imports increase ranked among world’s highest

Greece is ranked 12th on an international list of 45 countries registering the biggest LNG import increases between January and October this year, according to a report presented yesterday at the World LNG Summit & Awards by independent LNG consultant Andy Flower.

Greek LNG imports during this period increased by approximately one million metric tons compared to the equivalent period in the previous year, the report showed. This increase highlights Greece’s rising stature as an emerging gas hub for gas transportation to the Balkans and eastern European countries.

France topped the list with an increase in LNG imports of approximately 10 million metric tons (mtpa), followed by the UK with a 6 million mtpa increase, and Spain with an increase of just under 6 million mtpa.

Greece’s prospective Alexandroupoli FSRU, in the northeast, offers potential for an even greater increase in LNG imports as, once completed, the facility will stand as one of the EU’s biggest FSRUs and LNG terminals.

The Alexandroupoli FSRU promises to offer a regasification capacity of 4 million tons and a storage capacity of 153,500 cubic meters, figures making it Europe’s fourth biggest FSRU.

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.

New European LNG benchmark to be shaped by EU-27 prices

Europe’s new LNG benchmark will be determined by LNG price-level data presented by the EU’s 27 member states, the objective being to offer a broader, better-balanced and more reliable pricing formula than the existing one, shaped by the Dutch TTF index, sources have informed energypress.

ACER, Europe’s Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators, will present a preliminary plan for this new market correction mechanism at a meeting in Brussels today to be attended by the EU’s permanent representative committee, Coreper, involving all EU member states.

The new European LNG benchmark, promising a more accurate reflection of international prices for LNG, the dominant global energy source at present, will not affect existing agreements, officials have pointed out.

EU officials are striving for an imminent launch of this new LNG pricing tool, the aim being to have it introduced by early 2023. Last month, the European Commission noted it wants the new LNG benchmark to be ready by March 23.

On a wider scale, although the European Commission hopes EU member states can resolve differences for a common solution to the energy crisis, there have been no indications of possible consensus. On the contrary, the North-South divide remains and expectations for a common European approach to the issue this winter are extremely low.

Revythoussa LNG gasification demand doubles capacity

Gasification demand for prospective LNG shipments to be delivered to the LNG terminal on the islet Revythoussa, just off Athens, by importers who have secured slots at the facility, has doubled the facility’s gasification capacity during the second stage of gas grid DESFA’s ongoing annual auction for 2023.

Gas companies secured Revythoussa slots for their LNG imports at the auction’s first stage last week and are now bidding for gasification places in the procedure’s second stage, which started yesterday and will be be completed tomorrow.

Gasification capacity available at the Revythoussa LNG terminal is approximately 15 million cubic meters per day, but gasification bids, it has become known, are currently two times over this capacity.

High gasification demand had been anticipated given the enormous potential for natural gas exports to the Balkans, as was highlighted be the high bids for Revythoussa LNG slots placed by importers at last week’s auction. Slot prices reached as high as 4 million euros, three-and-a-half times over price levels recorded a year earlier.

Revythoussa LNG slot prices soar, driven by Balkan exports

Driven by LNG export potential to Bulgaria and the wider eastern European region, energy companies have submitted bids of between 3.5 and 4 million euros for slots at gas grid operator DESFA’s LNG terminal on the islet Revythoussa, just off Athens.

These bids, made at an ongoing DESFA auction offering slots for the next four years, are roughly three-and-a-half times higher than price levels recorded last year.

Two Bulgarian companies, Bulgargaz and Kolmar, as well as Greece’s power utility PPC and Motor Oil, were the winning bidders at the auction’s session yesterday, securing four of eight Revythoussa slots offered. The other four slots are expected to be taken by bidders today.

Earlier in the week, on Monday, gas company DEPA secured eight slots for 4 TWh, Mytilineos secured five slots for 5 TWh, as did and Bulgaria’s MET.

Greece’s recent transformation as a strategic gas exporter for the wider region has prompted a surge in demand for slots at the Revythoussa LNG terminal.

During the year’s first nine-month period, the country’s gas exports increased by 293 percent, representing over 20 TWh. Bulgaria was the main recipient. Greece has been covering the neighboring country’s gas needs for some months now, following natural gas pipeline disruptions from Russia.

 

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.

International gas prices lowered by favorable conditions

More favorable market conditions of late have prompted a de-escalation of international gas prices, currently on a downward trajectory. This morning, the international price for natural gas reached as low as 107.355 euros per MWh, a new four-month low.

Market officials explained that LNG is currently available in abundance with some tankers unable to secure delivery destinations as Europe’s storage facilities are close to full.

At the same time, demand for Russian gas in Asia, primarily China – where Russia has turned to as a result of restricted exports to Europe – has fallen significantly. Mild weather conditions in Europe at present have helped contain demand for gas.

This gas price drop will not become fully apparent in the retail market until mid-November – unless a new price surge is experienced – as prices are set based on the previous month’s prices.

Brussels seeks to prevent internal EU bidding for LNG

A European Commission proposal for joint European gas orders, one of the most crucial aspects of Brussels’ energy-crisis package to be discussed at tomorrow’s EU summit, aims, besides boosting Europe’s bargaining power, to prevent EU member states from bidding against each other, an unwanted prospect that would increase prices, ultimately favoring stronger members.

The Brussels proposals also include a measure that would discourage speculation in derivatives through the establishment of a temporary intraday price-increase mechanism. It would protect market players from huge price fluctuations within the same day by setting limits. TTF fluctuations above and below limits set will be prohibited, according to this proposal.

The details of how these two proposals could actually work remain to be seen.

“The LNG market is in danger of becoming a jungle. Things will be tight in coming years and a first-come, first-served logic could prevail. In practice, this means bigger countries will manage to buy faster and cheaper than smaller ones, so a brake is needed,” Pantelis Kapros, Professor of Energy Economics at the National Technical University of Athens, told energypress.

Unrestricted competition between countries would drive up prices, undesired by all, as an oligopoly exists in LNG supply, the professor added.

November electricity prices, out tomorrow, down 15-20%

The country’s electricity suppliers, now finalizing their pricing policies for next month, are expected to announce, tomorrow, reduced tariffs for November, down by 15 to 20 percent compared to the current month’s levels, sources have informed.

Based on new law, suppliers are required to announce their electricity prices for the forthcoming month by the 20th of each preceding month.

Supplier tariffs, sources informed, should range between 0.45 to 0.50 euros per MWh, which, if confirmed, will result in a reduction of between 15 and 20 percent, compared to October’s prices.

The government’s level of subsidy support for electricity bills next month has yet to be announced. Given the current de-escalation in electricity prices, the government may choose to only rely on the Energy Transition Fund for next month’s subsidies and not use any budget money for this purpose, sources said.

Market analysts are projecting further electricity price reductions until the end of the year as a result of a drop in TTF natural gas prices. The Dutch index has fallen by 66 percent since an August 26 peak of 349.90 euros per MWh, reaching 116.45 euros per MWh yesterday.

The EU’s overachievement of gas storage levels, now averaging 91 percent of capacity, as well as an abundance of LNG supply to Europe, are key factors that have driven down the TTF.

 

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.

RAE approvals steps towards new FSRUs off Corinth, Thessaloniki

RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, has approved Elpedison’s Thessaloniki FSRU project as well as the final phase of a market test for Motor Oil’s FSRU plan, Dioryga Gas, off Corinth, west of Athens.

For Elpedison, the authority’s approval essentially signals the go-ahead for the Thessaloniki FSRU (floating storage unit) as the decision awards a 50-year project license until 2072.

A 50-50 joint venture involving Elpedison’s two partners, Edison and HELLENiQ, formerly known as Hellenic Petroleum (ELPE), the Thessaloniki FSRU will be developed at the Thermaic Gulf, just a few kilometers from Dock 6 at Thessaloniki port.

The Thessaloniki FSRU, planned to consist of four storage tanks offering a total of 170,000 cubic meters, is scheduled to be launched in 2025.

Besides approving guidelines for the final phase of Motor Oil’s market test concerning the Dioryga Gas FSRU project off Corinth, RAE also approved a capacity boost for this project, to 210,000 cubic meters from 170,000 cubic meters, as had been specified in the project’s original license, as well as Diorygas Gas’ transfer to Motor Oil’s MORE subsidiary, also hosting the petroleum group’s RES projects.

 

DEPA’s TotalEnergies LNG deal a break away from Russia, TTF

A gas supply agreement reached between DEPA Commercial and France’s TotalEnergies, securing, for the former, French LNG quantities totaling 10 TWh, nearly one-third of annual Russian gas supply, based on references prices not linked to the Dutch TTF hub, up to 90 euros per MWh more expensive than other hubs, paves the way for further agreements not connected to the TTF and Russian supply.

According to sources, DEPA Commercial is currently working on a strategic long-term LNG supply agreement with another major international player, once again using a pricing formula linked to a hub other than the TTF.

These moves are ensuring energy sufficiency for DEPA Commercial’s customers as well as the country, at competitive prices.

DEPA Commercial’s 10-TWh LNG agreement with TotalEnergies, which, according to sources, will result in supply from November until March next year, is equivalent to five months of Russian gas consumption in the Greek market.

The TotalEnergies amount should be enough to cover the country’s needs during this five-month period if Russia completely disrupts gas supply to Europe. In 2021, Greece’s gas imports from Russia totaled 35.37 TWh.

The Greek energy ministry’s leadership and DEPA Commercial officials are preparing for a trip to Azerbaijan, postponed three weeks ago, to seek an agreement for further gas quantities, at prices that are more competitive than the current Azerbaijani supply deal, DEPA Commercial’s most expensive.

 

 

Operators tasked with LNG refueling of autonomous gas networks

LNG refueling at autonomous gas networks will be assigned to companies developing this infrastructure, RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, has decided.

RAE took its decision after Italgas, buyer of gas company DEPA Infrastructure, responded favorably to a proposal by the authority for DEPA Infrastructure’s distribution subsidiaries to take on the refueling task at autonomous gas networks.

Gas grid operator DESFA was also interested in taking on these services. Grid operators are most appropriate for network refueling services as they have a clear picture of consumption levels at any given moment, and, by extension, LNG refueling needs.

Hesitation by some operators prompted RAE to turn to Italgas. The Italian company is already accustomed to autonomous gas network refueling as a result of an equivalent model it applies for Sicily, where local networks are refueled with LNG.

 

 

 

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.

 

September LNG quantities lower but still considerable

Natural gas quantities to be shipped to the Revythoussa islet LNG terminal just off Athens will total 562,000 cubic meters in September, below the 609,000 cubic meters tallied in August, but equally important for the country’s energy sufficiency effort.

A total of six LNG tankers will moor at the Revythoyssa facility this month, bringing in 13 separate orders.

More specifically, Bulgaria’s MET energy has ordered four shipments for 104,000 cubic meters, Motor Oil is expecting one shipment carrying 36,900 cubic meters, Bulgargaz is awaiting two shipments for a total of 110,00 cubic meters, Mytilineos has placed an order for one shipment carrying 147,700 cubic meters, Elpedison has placed an order for three shipments totaling 62,00 cubic meters, and DEPA is expecting two shipments totaling 100,000 cubic meters.

These orders have been placed to support the country’s gas-fueled power stations during these challenging times, and also to cover energy needs in neighboring Bulgaria, which has stopped receiving Russian gas for some months now.

Bulgaria’s caretaker government is seeking to increase LNG quantities received through Greece to take advantage of the Greek-Bulgarian IGB pipeline’s upcoming launch, expected imminently.

The neighboring country is also in talks with Azerbaijan for increased imports. Sofia has not ruled out new gas supply negotiations with Russia’s Gazprom should other solutions prove insufficient.

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.

Revythoussa new FSU ready to receive LNG, slots in October

A newly installed floating storage unit at the Revythoussa LNG terminal on the islet just off Athens, which has boosted the facility’s capacity by 70 percent, is now ready to receive additional LNG shipments.

The LNG terminal’s capacity boost comes ahead of an October auction, to be held by gas grid operator DESFA, for slots at the facility.

All technically related preparations concerning the new FSU have been completed. The capacity boost enables two LNG tankers to unload at the same time, meaning scheduled tanker arrivals can  be facilitated along with short-notice import orders placed by suppliers or traders.

Such a need does not seem necessary at present, market sources have informed, but the usefulness of the terminal’s capacity boost will start becoming apparent once autumn sets in.

Suppliers and traders will be able to plan their LNG imports for 2023 in accordance with the terminal’s increased capacity as DESFA will auction off slots in October.

The FSU, leased by DESFA in June for a 12-month period through a tender, boosts the terminal’s capacity by 70 percent, from 225,000 cubic meters to 380,000 cubic meters.

 

 

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.

 

 

LNG overtakes natural gas as leading energy source import

LNG overtook natural gas as the country’s primary energy source import in the first half of 2022, capturing a 45 percent share of Greece’s energy-source imports, a result of reduced Russian natural gas imports, data provided by gas grid operator DESFA has shown.

During the equivalent period last year, LNG imports represented less than 25 percent of Greece’s total energy-source imports.

DESFA’s LNG terminal on the islet Revythoussa, just off Athens, is currently the country’s main gateway for gas imports. The facility is operating at 90 percent of full capacity.

Gas exports to Bulgaria increased considerably in the first half of 2022, reaching 3 bcm to cover the neighboring country’s entire demand, according to authorities. Russia has completely cut off its gas supply to Bulgaria.

Russian natural gas supply to Greece fell to 35 percent of overall energy-source imports in the first half, down from 42 percent last year, a trend highlighting LNG’s growing role as a result of Russia’s dwindling natural gas supplies.

Demand for natural gas in Greece increased in the first half, the data showed.

DEPA Chief: ‘Holistic approach to energy matters needed more than ever’

Mr. K. Xifaras, CEO of Public Gas Corporation of Greece (DEPA) SA., writes for International Energy Exhibition of Greece 2022

DEPA Commercial is Custodian of Greece’s energy security and of the smooth operation of the domestic energy market. Today, the energy sector, both in Greece and worldwide, is faced with a series of challenges and unforeseen factors which highlight, now more than ever, the need for a holistic approach to energy matters. The need to contain energy costs and support the society, on one hand, and the process of energy transition, on the other, have created a situation in which the market needs to find a balance which will ensure both the country’s energy efficiency and its survival in sustainable terms.

While trying to solve this difficult equation, the role of natural gas, as a bridge, fuel proves to be decisive for shaping the future of the energy market, given the diversification of energy sources and routes of supply and transport, as well as the expansion of storage capacity. DEPA Commercial, which consistently serves these strategic priorities, has been developing a multi-level strategy for the last three years that has proven to be particularly effective. A strategy with double focus: the verticalization and expansion of corporate activities, and the seamless transition to “green” energy, both of which are national goals described in the National Energy and Climate Plan and the European Green Agreement, enhancing our country’s role as a regional energy hub for the wider Southeast European region.

In order to cover the country’s immediate energy needs and to shield its energy security, DEPA Commercial is increasing the supply of LNG either through current contracts or through the spot market, while having already secured long-term agreements on more favorable terms. At the same time, the company is investing in important infrastructure projects and programs, which are drastically reshaping the energy status quo of the region and are contributing decisively to the process of Europe’s independence from Russian gas, such as the Greek-Bulgarian pipeline – IGB and the offshore LNG terminal (FSRU) in Alexandroupolis. Both, projects which will significantly increase the capacity of supply and storage of both Greece and the neighboring countries it serves.

TAP, Poseidon and EastMed are equally important pipeline projects, with the latter returning dynamically to the forefront as a result of the energy crisis, since it will enable the transport of natural gas from the fields of the Eastern Mediterranean to Europe. To that direction, DEPA Commercial is currently in advanced discussions with trading companies from Israel and Egypt.

In this way, a safety net is established regarding the security of supply in the wider region, which upgrades Greece’s geopolitical status by transforming it into a regulatory factor in the energy landscape.

Simultaneously, given the enhanced importance of natural gas, we have designed a comprehensive strategy aiming, on the one hand to expand the use of natural gas, both geographically and in terms of uses, and on the other hand to create the conditions for the development and utilization of renewable and alternative forms of energy. Keeping this in mind, DEPA Commercial is leading the developments towards the transition to a greener economy by designing and implementing initiatives that promote the further penetration of natural gas in the country’s energy mix, as a transitional fuel on the way to cleaner energy forms. The company also contributes substantially to the promotion of gas mobility and the use of cutting-edge technologies, such as Small-Scale LNG and CNG, thus expanding even further the natural gas network and ensuring distribution even in the most inaccessible areas. At the same, time, emphasis is placed on the development of a sustainable and efficient LNG supply chain for maritime transport that will increase the growth prospects of the Greek shipping sector.

With its sights on the future, DEPA Commercial is already active in the field of Renewable Energy Sources by creating a “green” portfolio that exceeds 200 MW of photovoltaic parks, and is also developing projects, infrastructure and technologies which will be able to serve in the future even “greener” energy such as hydrogen and biomethane.

Moreover, at DEPA Commercial we have proven that we operate always considering pertinent societal issues and, for this reason, with a true sense of responsibility we are contributing decisively to the absorption of a significant percentage of the rise in international gas prices, through the implementation of targeted market interventions aimed at supporting households and businesses, in full cooperation with the Ministry of Environment and Energy.

With a solid vision and through hard work, DEPA Commercial is today an integrated energy company, with strong bases, operating vertically and according to modern corporate governance terms. We are meticulously planning our next steps and we are creating the conditions to successfully meet the ever-changing needs of the market and the economy.

 

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.

July power subsidies 20 cents per KWh for all households

Electricity bill amounts for all households will be subsidized at a rate of 20 cents per KWh for consumption in July, without any upper limits and regardless of income levels, energy minister Kostas Skrekas has announced.

The total value of the government’s subsidy package for July is expected to reach 722 million euros, a 300 million-euro increase compared to June.

Besides the universal amount to be offered to all households, July’s electricity consumption for low-income households eligible for social support will be subsidized 240 euros per MWh, a rate fully absorbing the month-to-month increase.

In addition, electricity consumption concerning businesses with 35-kVA connections will be subsidized at a rate of 192 euros per MWh, while all other businesses and industries will be supported with subsidies worth 148 euros per MWh for July.

Furthermore, natural gas subsidies for industrial consumers will be subsidized at a rate of 30 euros per thermal MWh, according to the government’s support package.

Commenting on the government’s energy-security plan should Russian gas supply to Greece be disrupted, Skrekas, the energy minister, noted that the capacity of the Revythoussa LNG terminal on the islet just off Athens will be doubled with the installation of an FSU, expected to be ready to operate by the end of this month.

LNG imports will be increased, the minister noted, adding that power utility PPC’s new lignite-fired power station Ptolemaida V will be ready to operate in September. This facility will convert to gas later on. Also, five diesel-fueled units are ready to be used, if necessary, the minister informed.