NRG striving for leading role in country’s electric car market

Retail energy firm NRG, a member of the Motor Oil group, is aiming for a leading role in Greece’s electromobility market and has set ambitious objectives, including comprehensive in-charge solutions for businesses and households and an increase of the company’s recharging stations around the country from 500 at present to 1,000 by the end of the year.

New recharging station installations, through business-to-business deals, are being planned by NRG for key points, including at hotel facilities, corporate buildings, supermarket chains and shopping centers, followed by households.

NRG has already established agreements with two supermarket chains, My Market and Masoutis. The agreement with My Market involves the installation of 500 recharging stations at 250 points by the end of 2023, while the Masoutis deal entails the installation of 300 recharging stations at 150 points.

NRG has also reached hotel-sector deals with Costa Navarino and the Greco Hotel group, and, to date, has installed recharging stations at over 80 hotel points.

Covering 70 to 80 kilometers with an electric car costs approximately 6.50 euros, well below the fuel cost tallied by a conventional car model, estimated at 16 euros.

At present, approximately 13,000 plug-in hybrid cars are being used in Greece. Some 4,000 electric cars are in use.

 

Major industries turning to natural gas alternatives

Energy-intensive industries are abandoning, one after another, natural gas as an energy source and turning to alternatives in order to contain their operating costs.

Aluminium of Greece has switched to diesel for smelting procedures at its Agios Nikolaos facility in Viotia, northwest of Athens, while Motor Oil, has begun using naphtha for some of its energy needs, in place of natural gas, whose price levels have spun out of control.

According to sources, another major industrial player, ElvalHalcor, is also examining LPG as an alternative to natural gas, which the company uses for its aluminum and copper smelting furnaces.

However, this fuel switch cannot be carried out instantly as specialized studies focused on safety matters must precede the change. In addition, equipment needed for this fuel switch is not readily available. Also, ElvalHalcor is examining the extent of LPG availability in Greece as an industrial enterprise of its size would require big amounts.

European Commission energy crisis measures set to be announced, which will require energy savings and discourage the use of natural gas, are driving industrial players to seek energy source alternatives.

 

Diesel totaling 500,000 cubic meters part of emergency plan

A total of approximately 500,000 cubic meters of diesel will be required by five natural gas-fueled power stations to run on diesel should Russian gas supply be totally disrupted, authorities involved in the country’s emergency energy plan have estimated.

The turn to diesel, along with lignite, is part of the country’s wider emergency plan. The strategy’s diesel refueling effort at the five power stations, a procedure to last 16 hours a day over a period of between 100 and 120 days, is feasible, officials representing the Hellenic Petroleum (ELPE) and Motor Oil refineries informed an energy ministry meeting yesterday that also involved RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy.

The refinery officials believe the emergency plan’s additional capacity required for a three-month period from January through March, 2023, seen is a crucial period, is feasible, despite heightened diesel demand expected in the industrial sector.

Logistical issues stand as the plan’s biggest challenge as the refineries will need to ensure uninterrupted overland diesel supply to power utility PPC’s power station in Komotini, northeastern Greece, and Elpedison’s facility in Thisvi, northwest of Athens, both geographically demanding as a fleet of fuel trucks will need to be assembled for overland supply to the two units. The number of trucks and this supply plan’s cost remain undetermined.

PPC’s power station in Lavrio, southeast of Athens, and Elpedison’s power station in Thessaloniki do not face such issues as both these facilities are situated close to ports.

 

 

 

Power producer diesel reserves focus of emergency meeting

Top-ranked officials representing the country’s Hellenic Petroleum (ELPE) and Motor Oil refineries, electricity producers, as well as RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, will take part in an emergency meeting called for today by the energy ministry to address diesel safety reserves and a conversion to this energy source by a number of natural gas-fueled power stations should Russia completely disrupt its gas supply.

According to a RAE plan, five natural gas-fueled power stations will run on diesel should Moscow turn off the taps. These facilities will need to maintain an adequate level of diesel reserves covering the emergency plan.

Diesel reserve level requirements for these power stations have been increased, up from 5 to 20 days of consumption, or maximum storage capacity. Electricity producers must reach the increased safety levels by November 1.

Shipping sector developing offshore wind farm interest

The shipping industry, domestic and foreign, is expressing growing investment interest for offshore wind farms and is awaiting the emerging sector’s regulatory framework to develop such projects in Greek sea territory, energypress sources have informed.

Though plans are still nascent, a considerable number of shipping companies and shipowners are already in talks with consultants for related feasibility studies.

Conditions for shipping industry players are favorable. Their earnings have skyrocketed amid abnormal market conditions, worldwide, ever since the outbreak of the pandemic in early 2020. These higher earnings have generated additional capital for investment, prompting shipowners to consider the potential of offshore wind farms.

Anticipating strong growth in this emerging sector, metals production group Viohalco plans to proceed with an investment estimated to be worth 70 and 100 million euros, which, through subsidiary Cenergy Holdings, will merge the knowhow of group members Hellenic Cables and Corinth Pipeworks for the establishment of the world’s first industrialized unit for floating wind turbines.

Norway’s Equinor, the world’s biggest developer of offshore wind farms, has already expressed interest to develop projects in Greece, proposing an area between the Cyclades islands of Tinos, Syros and Mykonos.

In addition, TERNA Energy has reached an agreement with Ocean Winds, a partnership between EDP Renewables and Engie, for co-development of offshore wind farms offering a 1.5-GW capacity. Also, Mytilineos has reached an agreement with Denmark’s Copenhagen Offshore Partners. Hellenic Petroleum (ELPE) is currently engaged in talks with a major foreign company and Motor Oil has signed an agreement with Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company (Masdar).

Power utility PPC is currently involved in talks with at least five foreign companies, including Australia’s Macquarie, which recently acquired a 49 percent stake in PPC subsidiary DEDDIE/HEDNO, Greece’s distribution network operator. PPC is also believed to be in talks with American fund Quadum.

The Copelouzos group has joined forces with RF Energy to establish Aegean Offshore Wind Farms, a company planning to develop offshore parks offering an 850-MW capacity.

Greek shipowners own 5,514 ships, controlling 32 percent of the world’s tankers, 25 percent of bulk carriers and 22 percent of LNG carriers, the latter category being crucial for Europe’s effort to end its reliance on Russian natural gas.

 

ELPE, Motor Oil decide to cut Russian oil imports

Greece’s two refineries, Hellenic Petroleum (ELPE) and Motor Oil, are moving ahead with plans to replace Russian crude oil imports with orders from alternative sources.

Both energy groups have planned ahead of the EU’s proposal for a ban of all oil imports from Russia by the end of this year, company officials have informed. Reduced reliance on Russian oil imports has been a part of their strategies, whose implementation began last year, the officials added.

Neither energy group has been overexposed to Russian oil imports. Motor Oil’s Russian oil imports, over the years, have represented between 5 to 7 percent of its total oil imports, while ELPE’s Russian oil imports in 2021 reached 18 percent of the group’s total, according to its annual results.

Motor Oil’s deputy managing director Petros Tzannetakis informed a teleconference with analysts last month that the energy group had cut Russian oil imports in the fourth quarter last year.

ELPE’s leadership, which had joined a business delegation accompanying Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on a recent official visit to Saudi Arabia, reached an agreement with Aramco for bigger crude oil purchases, presumably to replace Russian oil.

War, energy crisis hastening plans for new LNG facilities

Russia’s war on Ukraine and the energy crisis are precipitating new natural gas and LNG supply solutions, a development that has increased the importance of related projects planned in Greece.

The EU’s decision to drastically reduce the continent’s reliance on Russian gas by two-thirds this year and terminate the dependence prior to 2030 has increased the importance of supply routes not linked to Moscow’s interests.

This development has increased the feasibility of new infrastructure promising to facilitate natural gas and LNG supply to Europe from alternative sources.

A major US-EU agreement established late last week for supply of an additional 15 bcm, at least, of American LNG to the continent this year, and gradual supply increases further ahead in time, has greatly boosted the prospects for related infrastructure.

The EU intends to follow up on this agreement by also establishing further supply deals with other producers, including Qatar and Egypt, in an effort to increase its LNG imports by a total of 50 bcm.

The EU’s new direction, focused on LNG imports, is seen as essential as the deterioration in relations between Europe and Moscow is expected to last many years.

Related projects in Greece promise to serve as LNG gateways for the country as well as southeast and central Europe, while also establishing Greece as a gas hub with an increased geostrategic role.

The Gastrade consortium recently decided to begin planning a second FSRU for Alexandroupoli, northeastern Greece, as an addition to a prospective first unit.

Petroleum group Motor Oil aims to begin development of its “Dioryga Gas” FSRU project, 1.5 km southwest of the company’s refinery in Korinthos, west of Athens, by the end of the year.

Gas grid operator DESFA is preparing to further upgrade its LNG terminal on the islet Revythoussa, just off Athens.

Also, the Mediterranean Gas company is planning to develop an FSRU at Volos port, on the mainland’s east coast. RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, has already issued a license for this project.

In addition, another investor, still undisclosed, is set to begin licensing procedures for yet another FSRU in Greece, sources have informed.

 

 

 

Gas trading debuts at energy exchange, prices at €85-88

Wholesale gas trading debuted at the Greek energy exchange without any problems, transactions representing a total quantity of 1,101 MWh at prices ranging between 85 and 88 euros per MWh, energypress sources have informed.

Energy exchange officials and participating companies expressed satisfaction following the first day of trading.

Ten companies – electricity producers and natural gas suppliers – are so far registered to participate in trading on the new platform. These are: AXPO, ELPEDISON, MOTOR OIL, DEPA Commercial, DESFA, PPC, EPA ATTIKI, ZENITH, HERON and MYTILINEOS.

The new platform, operating between 9am and 2.30am, incorporates a day-ahead market covering three 24 periods in advance, as well as an intraday market. It also hosts gas balancing trading covering the grid’s needs.

Officials are planning to also launch, at a latter date, trading for futures contracts, which will enable companies to pursue hedging strategies without needing to resort to other European markets for such tools.

The new platform promises to lead to more competitive natural gas prices as it will enable companies to capitalize on opportunities whenever they arise.

 

 

PPC’s Ptolemaida V test run in summer, gas conversion in ’25

Power utility PPC’s prospective Ptolemaida V power station in northern Greece, whose construction has almost been completed, is expected to undergo a test run this coming summer, as a lignite-fired facility, ahead of its launch late in the year or early 2022, while the unit will be converted into a natural gas-fired unit as of 2025, top-ranked company officials have informed.

The officials ruled out any possibility of a deviation away from the corporation’s natural gas conversion plan for the facility by 2025.

Any delay would be detrimental for PPC given the rising cost of carbon emission rights, currently at a level of approximately 90 euros per ton, leading to losses.

Carbon emission rights would need to drop to a level of no more than 45 euros per ton for Ptolemaida V to cover its operating costs as a lignite-fired facility, the PPC officials noted.

Meanwhile, a recent European Commission decision on its Taxonomy, essentially excluding ultra-modern power stations that are exclusively fueled by natural gas from its list of green investments, comes as a setback for the financing terms achievable for such facilities, the PPC officials pointed out.

The PPC officials admitted, however, that this Brussels decision will push investors to seek emission-reducing solutions, such as mixed natural gas and hydrogen solutions.

PPC is preparing such ventures following a recent announcement concerning a related collaboration with Motor Oil.

The European Commission’s Taxonomy is intended to serve as a guide for private and public-sector investments required to achieve climate neutrality over the next 30 years.

 

Motor Oil aims to start ‘Dioryga Gas’ development at end of ‘22

Petroleum group Motor Oil aims to begin development of its “Dioryga Gas” FSRU project, 1.5 km southwest of the company’s refinery in Korinthos, west of Athens, by the end of the year. The project’s completion would offer a second southern LNG entry point for Greece.

The ongoing energy crisis throughout Europe highlights the importance of such infrastructure, promising supply diversification and energy security.

Motor Oil officials are now working on the next steps leading to the project’s development following a recent successfully completed non-binding market test, which attracted capacity slot offers well over the group’s target of two billion cubic meters.

A binding second-round market test is currently being prepared by Motor Oil officials, according to sources. The procedure is expected to commence towards the end of the second quarter, once it has been approved by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy.

According to the company plan, an investment decision will follow, either late in the third quarter or early in the fourth quarter, paving the way for the beginning of construction towards the end of the year and an estimated launch in the final quarter of 2023.

The “Dioryga Gas” FSRU project has been included in gas grid operator DESFA’s ten-year development plan covering 2021 to 2030.

Its total capacity is planned to reach 210,000 m3, while regasification is planned at 132,000 MWhs per day and 2.5 bcm annually.

IPTO’s Adequacy Report for reserve mechanism, CRM near

Power grid operator IPTO is close to completing its updated grid Adequacy Report, expected to be ready within December for delivery to the European Commission. The report is needed to determine the shape of Greece’s proposals for a Strategic Reserve Mechanism and a Capacity Remuneration Mechanism (CRM).

The way towards completing the Adequacy Report was paved by the recent establishment of three required indices –  CONE (Cost of New Entry), VOLL (Value of Lost Load) and Reliability Standard – by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, and the energy ministry. These indices need to be factored into calculations before the Adequacy Report can be completed.

Plans for two new gas-fueled power stations, one by a TERNA-Motor Oil partnership, the other by the Copelouzos group, have emerged since assumptions made for IPTO’s study, which had been put to public consultation.

The launch of the two new units over the next few years is expected to greatly contribute to the grid’s reliability.

Motor Oil aims for ‘Dioryga Gas’ FSRU market test by November

Petroleum group Motor Oil aims to launch a market test for its “Dioryga Gas” FSRU project, 1.5 km southwest of the company’s refinery in Korinthos, west of Athens, by November, as just one pending issue, approval of project guidelines by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, now remains before the test can be staged.

The market test will be staged to measure the level of utilization interest in this floating unit by potential users.

Motor Oil anticipates the FSRU, promising to offer yet another natural gas entry point to the domestic system, can be launched by the end of 2023.

The market test will be conducted over two stages, an initial round of non-binding offers reserving FSRU capacities, followed by a second round of binding offers.

Besides the project’s commercial matters, progress is also being made on the technical front. The project’s Front End Engineering Design (FEED) plans are expected to be completed early next year, while the infrastructure’s environmental licensing procedure is in progress.

The FSRU is planned to feature four LNG storage tanks with a total capacity of between 130,000 and 180,000 cubic meters, as well as a regasification unit with a capacity of 300-500 cubic meters per hour for an annual regasification capacity of 2-3 bcm.

The unit is also planned to be hydrogen-compatible.

Five hydrogen project proposals make cut for IPCEI contention

Five Greek hydrogen production project proposals have been included in a first-round list submitted by the government to the European Commission for inclusion in its Important Projects of Common European Interest (IPCEI) category, reserved for projects promising important contribution to economic growth, jobs and competitiveness.

The five Greek project proposals, approved by energy minister Kostas Skrekas and development minister Adonis Georgiadis, were selected from 23 proposals submitted by companies for contention following an annoucement by the two ministries last April.

The short list of proposals is planned to be assessed by the European Commission in November for a place on the IPCEI list, ensuring EU support funds.

The list features the 8 billion-euro White Dragon project – involving the country’s biggest energy groups with gas company DEPA Commercial as head coordinator – for a hydrogen producing facility in northern Greece’s lignite-dependent west Macedonia region; the White Dragon-linked Green HiPo project of Advent Technologies; the H2CEM hydrogen project by cement producer TITAN; the BLUE MED project, for eco-friendly blue hydrogen production, by Motor Oil and gas grid operator DESFA; as well as the H2CAT hydrogen storage and transportation project by B&T Composites.

Wholesale ascent limits NRG profit, refinery margins better at Motor Oil

Elevated wholesale electricity market prices have restricted profit figures at retail energy supplier NRG, while profit margins in the refinery division are rebounding and should further improve, significantly, in the second half, the Motor Oil Hellas group has pointed out in a presentation of first-half results to analysts.

The Motor Oil Hellas administration is confident group profit figures will be greatly reinforced by the acquisition of new RES units.

Increased carbon emission right costs impacted the group’s profit levels by 10 million euros in the first half, Motor Oil Hellas officials pointed out.

Carbon emission right costs skyrocketed to 52 euros per ton in the second quarter of 2021, up from 38 euros per ton in the current year’s first quarter, and average levels of 14 euros per ton in 2018 and five euros per ton in 2017.

Auto fuel demand in the Greek market has risen, reaching pre-pandemic levels last month, equivalent to figures achieved in August, 2019, while heating fuel demand weakened as last year’s purchase season was extended, prompting a significant sales increase, Motor Oil officials informed.

 

 

Power producer LNG orders unaffected by higher gas prices

Increased natural gas prices in international markets have not restrained LNG imports at gas grid operator DESFA’s Revythoussa islet terminal just off Athens, data provided by the operator has shown.

LNG orders at the Revythoussa terminal for the two-month period covering August and September, placed primarily by power producers, seeking international market opportunities to subdue fuel costs, as well as gas company DEPA, total more than 742,000 cubic meters, the DESFA data showed.

This quantity represents six LNG tanker loads, ordered by as many key domestic natural gas market players for the two-month period.

Two loads, the first for power utility PPC and Motor Oil Hellas, and the second for Elpedison, arrived during the first half of August. A third tanker carrying LNG orders placed by Mytilineos and Heron will follow this month, bringing August’s LNG orders total at the Revythoussa terminal to 376,000 cubic meters.

Three more LNG shipments are scheduled to arrive at the Revythoussa facility in September. The first of these concerns orders placed by PPC and Motor Oil Hellas totaling 146,000 cubic meters. The second shipment will be for a 73,000-cubic meter order placed by DEPA, while the third concerns a 147,000-cubic meter order made by Elpedison.

Natural gas prices have remained high in international markets, currently about triple the price of levels in March.

Listed players plan 16 GW in RES projects worth €16bn

Greece’s listed energy groups, alone, plan to invest a total amount of 16 billion euros over the next decade for the development of green energy projects representing over 16 GW, big figures highlighting the anticipated dominance of the green energy market in the years to come as the country transitions to cleaner energy sources and decarbonizes.

Investments are already anticipated in mature RES technologies, namely wind and solar energy facilities, while, once market and regulatory conditions allow, major investments will be made in energy storage as well as offshore wind farms.

Terna Energy, market leader in Greece’s RES market, plans to reach an installed capacity of 3,000 MW in the next five years. The company, the biggest wind energy player in Greece and southeast Europe, is currently developing wind energy projects representing 400 MW while a further 63 projects are nearing maturity.

Power utility PPC is making impressive RES market progress through its subsidiary PPC Renewables. PPC, according to the company’s updated business plan, will make investments totaling 3.4 billion euros until 2023, 34 percent of this amount concerning RES investments.

Green energy is also a key aspect in the Mytilineos group’s investment plans over the next few years. Its solar energy projects portfolio, representing 1,480 MW, is one of the biggest in Greece. The company possesses 300 MW in RES projects either operating, under construction or set for construction, as well as a further 100 MW headed for final investment decisions by the end of 2021. Mytilineos also plans to develop 20 energy storage projects, each with a 50-MW capacity.

Hellenic Petoleum (ELPE), both acquiring and developing RES projects, is aiming for a 2-GW RES portfolio by 2030.

Motor Oil Hellas recently acquired 11 operating wind farms with a total 220-MW capacity as well as a 20-MW facility still under construction from private equity fund Fortress. MOH is aiming for an operating RES capacity of 364 MW by the end of 2022 as well as a medium-term RES goal of between 500 to 600 MW.

Ellaktor is planning investments worth 1 billion euros for the development of 900 MW through its partnership with Portugal’s EDPR.

Contractor Intrakat also aims to push ahead with a one billion-euro RES investment plan. The company has joined forces with Gaia Anemos, possessing wind and PV production licenses representing approximately 1 GW, plus RES expertise.

RF Energy has reached an investment decision to develop an offshore wind farm with a capacity of 498.15 MW northeast of the island Limnos. The project is budgeted at two billion euros, according to the company.

 

 

 

GEK TERNA building vertically integrated energy group

Listed GEK TERNA construction and energy group has further reinforced its position in the energy market following its acquisition of stakes held by Engie and Qatar Petroleum in the Heron energy group.

As a result, GEK TERNA has now gained control of Heron’s energy production and supply activities.

The group’s objectives for an increased installed capacity in RES and conventional electricity generation promise to make GEK TERNA the country’s second biggest energy group, following PPC, the power utility.

Group member Terna Energy aims to increase its installed RES capacity to 3 GW by 2025, while, during the same period, or possibly one year earlier, the group intends to boost its conventional energy production capacity to 1.5 GW.

Heron is equipped with two gas-fueled power stations offering a total capacity of 600 MW, while the company has also announced it will co-develop an 877-MW power station in Komotini, northern Greece, with Motor Oil.

The GEK Terna group, with its subsidiaries Terna Energy in renewable energy, and Heron, for conventional energy production and supply, has created a 4.5-GW portfolio capable of providing electricity products through decarbonized operations.

The listed group has taken a big step into the new era of energy supply through power and purchase agreements (PPAs) as Heron will be able to offer major-scale energy consumers bilateral supply contracts for green and conventional energy.

Damco Energy CCGT boost to 840 MW approved by RAE

A plan by Damco Energy, a Copelouzos group subsidiary, to increase the capacity of its prospective natural gas-fired power station in Alexandroupoli, northeastern Greece, from 662 MW to 840 MW has been approved by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy.

The energy company now needs to make an investment decision, expected within the summer, before work on the project commences, sources informed. Its licensing procedure has been completed.

According to the sources, ESM, North Macedonia’s state electricity company, set to acquire a 25 percent in the Alexandroupoli natural gas-fired power station, is now at the final of its preparations and is currently performing due diligence.

Damco Energy is one of a number of companies that have not only decided to develop natural gas-fired power stations but also to boost capacities of their respective projects to over 800 MW.

Mytilineos was the first to do so with its plan for an 826-MW combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT unit) in Agios Nikolaos, Viotia, northwest of Athens, a project already being developed.

Following suit, Elpedison upgraded a licensed natural gas-fired power station plan in Thessaloniki to 826 MW, while, just weeks ago, GEK Terna and Motor Oil also announced an upgrade for their natural gas-fired power station in Komotini, northeastern Greece, a joint venture, to 877 MW.

Power utility PPC has also announced a plan to convert its new lignite-fired power station, Ptolemaida V, to a natural gas unit, planned to ultimately offer a capacity of over 1,000 MW by 2025.

The prospective natural gas-fired power stations, totaling 4.3 GW, are planned to fill the capacity gap that will be left by PPC’s withdrawal of lignite-fired power stations, exiting as part of the country’s decarbonization effort.

These new gas-fired units are also expected to export electricity to Balkan countries through grid interconnections with neighboring markets.

Vertical integration, diversification, FSRU behind MOH Komotini plant role

Petroleum group Motor Oil Hellas’ intent to further bolster its position in the electricity market is highlighted by its decision to participate, with a 50 percent stake, in a new natural gas-fired power station being jointly developed with GEK Terna in Komotini, northeastern Greece.

More specifically, MOH’s involvement in this project can be linked to three key strategic reasons: vertical integration; market diversification beyond the refining sector; and the market role of the group’s planned FSRU in Korinthos, the Dioryga Gas project.

MOH’s participation in the Komotini natural gas-fired power station, coming as an addition to another such unit, Korinthos Power, in which the petroleum group holds a 35 percent stake, is expected to further bolster its vertical integration in the electricity market.

MOH, in the retail electricity market, is represented by supplier NRG, a company displaying dynamic growth with market share gains.

The group’s acquisition of a 50 percent stake in the Komotini power plant, to offer an 877-MW capacity, will boost its presence in electricity production and creates further opportunities for trade synergies.

The group’s Dioryga Gas project in Korinthos promises to supply large LNG quantities to the Komotini power station.

According to some sources, MOH is also discussing a possible entry, as a stakeholder, into other natural gas-fired power stations that are currently being developed, so that these, too, may be supplied with LNG by the group.

IPTO factors Balkans into adequacy report calculations

IPTO is taking into account current and potential grid capacities of neighboring Balkan markets for its preparation of an updated adequacy report, a study to serve as a base for various new plans, including the shaping of Greece’s requests for a Capacity Remuneration Mechanism (CRM) and Strategic Reserve, an updated National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP), and private-sector investment decisions for new natural gas-fired power stations.

IPTO is also factoring into its adequacy report calculations the heightened investment interest and activity in Greece’s RES sector, energy storage, now that this domain appears set for initiation, as well as the introduction of new elements to mechanisms and energy exchange markets, including the demand response system, remunerating major-scale electricity consumers when the operator asks them to shift their energy usage or stop consumption during high-demand peak hours, so as to balance the electricity system’s needs.

Electricity grids in the Balkans are being revamped, creating unprecedented electricity export opportunities for Greek exporters. The EU’s intention to impose a carbon border tax on electricity imports from non-EU countries adds to Greece’s export potential to the Balkans, as well as more new natural gas-fired power stations than the quantity included in the current NECP.

Given the developments, Greece now probably needs four new natural gas-fired power stations, including power utility PPC’s Ptolemaida V.

Private-sector firms are pushing ahead their plans for the development of such units, as was highlighted by a related joint announcement last Friday from GEK Terna and Motor Oil.

 

Greek enterprises face April 27 date for hydrogen project proposals

Leading Greek energy players are gearing up to participate in a European Commission effort concerning the development of the continent’s first major investments in eco-friendly hydrogen production, a key aspect in Brussels’ decarbonization drive.

Interested parties face an April 27 deadline to submit proposals concerning a number of categories, including PCI-supported sustainable low-emission hydrogen production, the emphasis placed on RES-generated hydrogen.

The White Dragon project, as it has been dubbed, has brought Greece’s biggest industrial corporations closer, as they prepare to jointly bid for project categories Brussels will subsidize in the context of the Hydrogen Europe program.

The White Dragon project provides for investments of 2.5 billion euros in electrolytic hydrogen production by means of solar energy from photovoltaic parks with a capacity of 1.5 GW. They are planned for northern Greece’s west Macedonia region, a lignite-dependent economy.

Gas utility DEPA, gas grid operator DESFA, petroleum group Motor Oil, the Mytilineos group, Terna, Hellenic Petroleum ELPE, Polish company Solaris, as well as the Demokritos National Center for Scientific Research and the Center for Research and Technology Hellas (CERTH) are taking part.

The hydrogen to be produced will be used for district heating, fuel to be exported via the Trans Adriatic Pipeline, and as fuel for large vehicles such as lorries and buses.

 

Motor Oil ‘Dioryga Gas’ FSRU on DESFA 10-yr plan, set to roll

Approval by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, of gas grid operator DESFA’s ten-year grid development plan, covering 2021 to 2030, with the inclusion of petroleum group Motor Oil’s “Dioryga Gas” FSRU project, 1.5 km southwest of the company’s refinery in Korinthos, west of Athens, paves the way for this unit’s actualization.

Motor Oil anticipates the FSRU, promising to offer yet another natural gas entry point to the domestic system, can be launched by the end of 2023.

To accept LNG via sea routes, the floating storage regasification unit’s capacity is estimated at 2-3 bcm per year.

The “Dioryga Gas” FSRU project was incorporated into DESFA’s ten-year development plan following amendments to a preliminary plan, made once an agreement had been reached between the gas grid operator and Motor Oil.

This agreement ended a dispute between the two sides over the project’s absence from the operator’s ten-year plan. Motor Oil protested against the FSRU’s exclusion, expressing its disapproval to DESFA as well as RAE.

The project’s inclusion on DESFA’s ten-year plan will enable Motor Oil to take investment decisions needed for its development.

The petroleum group is currently also examining the regulatory and commercial frameworks concerning the project with the aim of offering optimal services to users. Motor Oil intends to stage a market test in 2021.

The “Dioryga Gas” FSRU project will ease the saturation pressure on Greece’s other FSRU, on the islet Revythoussa, just off Athens, reinforce gas supply to the Greek market as the country’s LNG storage capacity will increase by 80 percent, and also facilitate further penetration of natural gas in remote parts of the country.

Motor Oil buys Fortress 240MW RES units, ELPE also a bidder

Petroleum company Motor Oil, a member of the Vardinogiannis group, has acquired a 240-MW wind energy portfolio from private equity fund Fortress for a sum estimated at 123.5 million euros, renewable energy market sources have informed.

The Vardinogiannis group yesterday announced this acquisition, comprised of 220 MW in existing wind energy units and a 20-MW wind energy project now under construction, without naming the seller.

Motor Oil was named the preferred bidder following a two-round tender staged by Fortress that included Canadian fund Cubico in the second round, the sources informed.

The majority of this portfolio’s wind farms are located in central and northern Greece.

Interestingly, fellow Greek petroleum company Hellenic Petroleum (ELPE) also participated in the tender but did not make it past the first round, the sources said.

Both Motor Oil and ELPE have set ambitious goals for the addition of RES units to their respective production capacities.

Motor Oil, which had set an objective to build a RES portfolio of more than 300 MW over a two-year period, is already there given its existing installed capacity – prior to this acquisition – which exceeds 100 MW.

Had ELPE added the Fortress wind energy farms to its portfolio, it, too, would have taken a big step towards achieving its RES objective, set at 500-MW. The group is currently developing a 200-MW solar farm in the west Macedonia area, northern Greece.

Fortress, represented in Greece by local associate Nostira, had bought the aforementioned portfolio in September, 2018 from the Libra group, headed by shipowner George Logothetis.

 

Motor Oil launches west Balkan growth plan, under Shell brand, in Croatia

Petroleum retailer Coral, a member of the Motor Oil group, is eyeing west Balkan markets, troubled by gasoline and diesel quality and trading concerns, on the strength of the strong Shell brand name it represents.

The Motor Oil group acquired Shell Hellas in 2010 in a deal licensing the company to market the multinational’s brands. Motor Oil then renamed Shell Hellas as Coral and, approximately four years ago, founded companies in North Macedonia, Albania, Montenegro and Serbia.

Coral’s acquisition of a 75 percent stake in petroleum retailer Apios, holding a 3 percent share of the Croatian market and operating 26 petrol stations in the country, represents the beginning of the Greek firm’s growth plan for the west Balkan region, company officials said.

Croatia, this investment plan’s launch pad, is backed by robust economic projections. The country’s tourism industry has enjoyed solid growth over the past two years, generating increased revenues for petroleum firms.

Beyond Croatia, Coral plans to soon open two petrol stations in North Macedonia, under the Shell brand name. The company is also planning to enter the markets of Albania and Montenegro, where it also maintains the rights to use the Shell brand name.

Coral already operates five petrol stations in Serbia and is preparing to launch an additional six in this country.

 

Suppliers target electromobility, smart home and city markets

Domestic energy suppliers, targeting the electromobility, smart home and smart city markets, are closely following rapid technological developments, internationally, company executives told an industry event, the 4th Ecomobility conference, held yesterday.

Elpedison, anticipating electromobility market growth, is offering related services for homes and businesses through its DriveGreen package, which includes electricity tariffs below night rates on a 24-hour basis and free-of-charge kilowatt hours every month for electric vehicle usage, the company’s chief executive, Nikos Zahariadis told the event.

A National Energy and Climate Plan projection on the auto market penetration of electric vehicles by 2030 is too ambitious as a result of high price tags on electric vehicles, lack of infrastructure and lofty taxes, Zahariadis noted. Revisions are needed if the NECP’s electromobility objective is to be achieved, he added.

Aristidis Grammatikopoulos, product development manager at energy supplier Fysiko Aerio, informed of the company’s participation in the development of recharging infrastructure. Fysiko Aerios has also prepared special packages and services for supply and installation of smart recharging units for domestic use, he added.

The Fysiko Aerio official also announced new smart-tech services, via mobile phone, offering customers optimal energy packages though an algorithm linked to individual energy consumption patterns.

Greek market data in 2020 show potential for the electromobility sector, despite difficulties, energy supplier NRG’s strategic manager Ilias Petris asserted.

The development of recharging infrastructure is the most pivotal factor for electromobility market growth, the NRG official stressed, adding that a current focus on the wider Athens area requires adjustment for a widespread approach.

The Motor Oil group, owner of NRG, has been a pioneer in electromobility through the installation of recharging networks along national highways as far back as two years ago, Petris noted.

 

Gas market competition intensifies, TAP lowering prices

Competition has intensified in the country’s wholesale gas market at a time of changing conditions and negotiations for 2021 deals between importers and major-scale consumers, namely electricity producers and industrial enterprises.

Many gas supply contracts expired at the end of 2020, requiring a large number of players to renegotiate deals. Some of these big consumers have already reached new agreements with gas wholesalers.

Market conditions have changed considerably compared to a year earlier. Supply of Azeri gas through the new TAP route has already begun to Greece as well as Bulgaria, increasing overall supply, which has obliged, and permitted, gas utility DEPA to pursue a more aggressive pricing policy as the company pushes to absorb quantities it has committed to through clauses in existing contracts.

Also, the TAP-related increase of gas supply to Bulgaria, combined with this country’s inflow of Russian gas through oil-indexed price agreements, currently relatively cheaper, is now depriving Greek wholesale gas companies of entry into a neighboring market that was available for trading activity last year.

Furthermore, conditions have also been impacted by a competition committee decision no longer requiring DEPA to stage gas auctions to make available a share of its gas orders to rival traders. This measure was introduced and maintained to help liberalize Greece’s gas market.

The new conditions are pushing Greek traders towards more competitive pricing policies. They appear to have acknowledged that their profit margins will be narrower in 2021.

DEPA, helped by the fact that a sizeable proportion of its gas purchases is oil-indexed, is said to be playing a dominant role in the ongoing negotiations for new contracts with customers.

It should be pointed out that, unlike rival gas importers such as Mytilineos, Elpedison and Heron, all benefitting through self-consumption of a large part of their gas orders for gas-fired power stations they operate, DEPA does not self-consume.

Prometheus Gas, a member of the Copelouzos group, remains a formidable player, while the power utility PPC and petroleum company Motor Oil are less influential in the wholesale gas market.

Higher LNG prices, compared to pipeline gas, will decrease demand for LNG this year and weaken the interest of traders for LNG supply through gas grid operator DESFA’s Revythoussa terminal on the islet just off Athens. Last year, this facility was a hot spot of trading activity as a result of lower-priced LNG.

Producers seeking lower-cost industrial electricity alternatives

Industrial electricity consumers of the high and mid-voltage categories are securing lower-cost agreements with independent suppliers, while energy-intensive consumers, currently negotiating with power utility PPC for new tariffs to take effect January 1, are pushing for better deals.

These developments are reshuffling the industrial electricity market, previously dominated by PPC.

Independent energy company Heron and Macedonia Paper Mills (MEL) recently announced an electricity supply agreement that includes a package of services for energy efficiency, electromobility and RES coverage of the producer’s energy needs.

Cement producer Heracles had previously reached an electricity supply agreement with Protergia, a member of the Mytilineos group, paving the way for further agreements between producers and independent suppliers.

These developments have had a wider knock-on effect, including for mid-voltage supply, as demonstrated by an agreement between energy supplier NRG, a member of the Motor Oil group, with the country’s other cement producing giant, Titan.

Following losses in 2018 and 2019, PPC is believed to be turning its focus on more profitable sectors and is no longer interested in maintaining a high share of the industrial electricity market – both high and mid-voltage.

DEPA Comm VDR open; 5-year stay for Infrastructure buyer

The video data room for the privatization procedure of DEPA Commercial, one of two new gas utility DEPA entities placed for sale, is now open to prospective bidders, but initial information made available is limited to non-financial details.

Financial details on DEPA Commercial will be made available as a second step to all consultants representing the potential buyers, while a third and final stage will follow to conditionally offer bidders confidential information in person at the DEPA headquarters.

As previously reported, the second-round, binding-bids deadline for the DEPA Commercial sale, offering investors a 65 percent stake, has been extended to March, 2021.

The field of second-round qualifiers is comprised of two partnerships, Hellenic Petroleum (ELPE) with Edison and power utility PPC with Motor Oil Hellas, plus Mytilineos, TERNA, the Copelouzos group, Shell, and the Swiss-based MET Group.

As for DEPA Infrastructure, the other new DEPA entity up for sale, energy minister Costis Hatzidakis is preparing a legislative revision that will require the winning bidder to retain its company shares for a period of at least five years.

This condition will also apply for the DEPA Infrastructure subsidiaries EDA Attiki, EDA Thess and DEDA, the gas distributors covering the wider Athens area, Thessaloniki-Thessaly and rest of Greece, respectively. DEPA fully owns DEDA and EDA Attiki and holds a 51 percent stake in EDA Thess.

The DEPA Infrastructure binding-bids deadline has also been extended to the end of February, 2021. Italgas, EPH, First State Investments, KKR, Macquarie and Sino-CEEF have qualified for the final round.

 

Business plan, better results, new activities in DEPA Commercial VDR

The virtual data room for a forthcoming privatization to offer a 65 percent stake in DEPA Commercial, an offshoot of gas utility DEPA, expected to be opened for potential buyers to assess by the end of this week, will present a business plan, improved financial figures at DEPA, new company activities envisaged, as well as DEPA’s outlook on the course of the country’s natural gas market and the company’s position within it.

According to privatization fund TAIPED’s revised Asset Development Plan, participants will submit binding bids in December.

The field of first-round entries, comprising two consortiums and five companies, will have roughly three months to prepare binding bids, according to the schedule.

Hellenic Petroleum ELPE and Italy’s Edison are one of the privatization’s two participating consortiums, the other formed by power utility PPC and Motor Oil Hellas. The five individual participants are: Mytilineos, TERNA, Copelouzos group, Shell and the Swiss-based MET group.

New partnerships could be established by the field of participants as long as they do not affect the sale’s competition standards and have been approved by TAIPED.

The sale of DEPA Commercial is a major attraction for potential buyers as it offers a big slice of the wholesale and retail markets, including gas supplier Fysiko Aerio Attikis, a subsidiary covering the wider Athens area. Fysiko Aerio Attikis already serves close to 400,000 households and 10,000 businesses.

DEPA Infrastructure VDR open, DEPA Commercial data soon

A virtual data room has just been opened for the six bidding teams preparing to make second-round offers in the privatization of gas company DEPA Infrastracture, an offshoot of gas utility DEPA.

Czech company EPH, Italy’s Italgas, the Australian investment funds First State Investments and Macquarie, US firm KKR and China’s Sino-CEEF & Shanghai Dazhong Public Utilities now have access to all relevant data concerning the DEPA Infrastructure sale.

Another VDR is expected to be opened within the next few days for bidders participating in the privatization of DEPA Commercial, DEPA’s other entity up for sale.

The participants in this sale, seven entries in total, are: Motor Oil Hellas-PPC, ELPE-Edison, Mytilineos, GEK-TERNA, the Copelouzos group, Dutch company Shell and the Swiss-based MET Group.

VDR information for the DEPA Commercial sale will be made available over three phases as a protective measure intended to ensure competition. The first phase, offering non-sensitive data, will be open for all. Access to VDR information during the second stage, offering sensitive data, will be restricted to consultants. Bidders will be offered conditional access to confidential information in the third phase.

Greece’s privatization fund TAIPED is aiming to declare preferred bidders for both sales in the final quarter of this year. Market officials, however, believe this is more likely to occur in the first quarter of 2021.

DEPA Commercial bidders are allowed to team up and establish consortiums but partnerships for the DEPA Infrastructure sale are not permitted.

Bidders participating in the DEPA Commercial sale are mainly eyeing the company’s prized asset, retail gas supplier and subsidiary Fysiko Aerio Attikis, covering the wider Athens area. This company already serves close to 400,000 households and 10,000 businesses.