Greek companies stand a great chance of gaining further presence in North Macedonia’s energy market through participation in projects and investments promising to contribute to the country’s diversification of energy sources and capture a bigger energy-mix share for green energy, the neighboring country’s Prime Minister Zoran Zaev made clear during comments in Athens yesterday.
North Macedonia appears determined to reduce its dependence on Russian fossil fuels and also cut back on carbon emissions, objectives offering investment opportunities for Greek energy groups, currently eyeing the neighboring market as part of plans to increase their business interests abroad.
The North Macedonian leader said yesterday that an agreement concerning the relaunch of Hellenic Petroleum ELPE’s Thessaloniki-Skopje oil pipeline is nearing finalization.
“The idea is to have reached an agreement with them by the end of May so that this important pipeline can begin operating,” Zaev remarked.
The oil pipeline’s reopening would be combined with the conversion of ELPE’s North Macedonian OKTA refinery into a petroleum products distribution hub covering the western Balkan region.
ELPE currently operates 27 petrol stations in North Macedonia through its OKTA subsidiary. Also active in Bulgaria, Serbia, Montenegro, the Greek petroleum group operates over 200 petrol stations in the wider region.
Zaev added that North Macedonia is involved in negotiations with a Greek company, presumed to be Mytilineos, for the development of a natural gas-fueled power station in the capital, Skopje. These talks, however, still appear to be at an early stage.
Also this week, Greek energy minister Kostas Skrekas told participants of the Delphi Economic Forum that a bilateral agreement for a Greek-North Macedonian gas pipeline interconnection is virtually ready and awaiting the approval of European authorities.
For North Macedonia, this gas pipeline project would end Russia’s monopoly in the country’s gas market, enabling more competitive gas prices and reinforced supply security, while for Greece, the gas pipeline’s development would represent a further step in the country’s objective to transform into a regional gas hub.