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.

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.

 

 

Fixed charge cap of 5 euros, over €500m raised in July for subsidies

The government has decided to implement a five-euro cap on fixed charges in electricity bills, energy minister Kostas Skrekas has told parliament.

It is the latest in a series of energy-crisis measures introduced by the government and comes after electricity suppliers opted to increase their fixed charges as a means of keeping their tariffs – the competitive aspect of electricity bills – as low as possible.

A new market mechanism’s revenues generated for the Energy Transition Fund, supporting the government’s electricity subsidies initiative, reached over 330 million euros in the first half of the month and could exceed 500 million euros by the end of the month, the minister told parliament. This sum nearly covers the monthly cost for subsidies.

The energy crisis, brought about by pandemic-induced market abnormalities, has been exacerbated by Russia’s war on Ukraine, which the minister described as “catastrophic, causing thousands of deaths, many of the victims being unarmed civilians, and beyond that, an enormous energy crisis that is feeding economic and inflationary crises, which we hope does not also lead to a food crisis.”

Lignite plants at the first line of defense against a Russian gas stoppage

In the case that Russian gas supplies are stopped to Greece the energy regulator plans to enhance power production through lignite plants, as part of its emergency plan, which has been submitted for consultation.
During a meeting with the prime minister last week, it was decided that lignite plants will double their production in that eventuality and reach 10 TWh in the following 12 months from 5 TWh today. These TWh are equal to 20% of Greece’s annual power consumption.
Furthermore, the plan includes the storing of natural gas in Italy, according to European guidelines included in the REPower EU plan. Quantities will reach 1.7-1.8 TWh from October and for a period of five months.
The regulator’s plan also includes fuel switching in the five natural gas plants that are able to do that. Another measure is to take advantage of the LNG terminal in Revythoussa, which has now another floating terminal.

Coal, nuclear exit slowdowns, demand-response part of EU plan

The European Commission plans to announce an energy-crisis emergency plan on July 20, its measures believed to include a slowdown of nuclear and coal-fired facility withdrawals in the EU, as well as a demand-response mechanism offering industrial consumers incentives to curb energy demand in exchange for compensation.

The EU is bracing for further cuts to Russian gas supply. Kremlin-controlled energy giant Gazprom shut down Nord Stream I, a subsea pipeline linking Russia with Germany on July 11 for a 10-day period of maintenance work, according to Gazprom.

The EU’s emergency plan, to coincide with the end of this ten-day period, is expected to include measures aiming to cut gas use, incentives for firms to curb energy demand and gas savings now for stockpiling ahead of winter.

The European Commission plan will also call on EU member states to encourage industrial enterprises and electricity producers to switch energy sources and opt for biomass, biomethane, solar and and other renewable energy sources.

In addition, the plan will require thermal power stations equipped to also run on diesel to take necessary precautions enabling them to switch to diesel for continual periods of at least five days.

Lignite-fired output to double, PPC sets conditions for return

State-controlled power utility PPC will double its lignite-fired electricity generation over the next 12 months for annual production of 10 TWh, from 5 TWh at present, an increase covering 20 percent of Greece’s annual electricity needs, energy authorities have agreed at an emergency meeting chaired by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

The overall effort, reversing the country’s decarbonization plan in order to make up for dwindling Russian natural gas exports and help counter skyrocketing gas costs, will include the development of new lignite mines.

The government’s recently introduced price caps for power generation, set at different levels for respective production technologies, will be applied to this emergency lignite plan.

A price cap of 208 euros per MWh has been imposed on lignite-fired electricity production, meaning the additional 5-TWh amount to be generated by PPC will be worth roughly one billion euros. This additional 5-TWh in production would have been worth 1.8 billion euros if current energy exchange price levels were applied. The wholesale cost of lignite-generated electricity at present is 341.17 euros per MWh.

PPC, controlling all the country’s lignite facilities, has set a series of conditions for the return of lignite-fired power stations, including the abolishment of a rule requiring the company to commit 50 percent of the previous year’s lignite-based output to the futures market.

The power utility has also demanded a 150 million-euro guarantee from the government  should Russia’s war on Ukraine end and energy prices deescalate, which would end the need for the emergency lignite-fired production boost. In setting this condition, PPC has taken into account investments it will need to make to double its lignite-fired generation over the next year.

The government appears to be willing to satisfy the conditions set by PPC, which has disinvested in lignite over the past couple of years.

 

PM office emergency meeting over Nord Stream I fears

The country’s leading energy authorities have been summoned to an emergency meeting today at Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ office following yesterday’s troubling announcement by Kremlin-controlled energy giant Gazprom, which noted it could not guarantee the safe operation of the Nord Steam I gas pipeline because of doubt over the return of a turbine from Canada.

At today’s meeting, top officials representing RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, the market operators, power utility PPC, and gas company DEPA will seek emergency solutions amid fears Russia’s dwindling gas supply cuts to Europe could worsen.

Nord Stream I, a subsea pipeline linking Russia with Germany through the North Sea, was shut down on July 11 for a 10-day period of maintenance work, according to Gazprom.

Should the pipeline not reopen next Thursday, turmoil in European energy markets would also impact the Greek market, both in terms of prices and supply sufficiency, as the development would prompt a drastic increase in electricity exports from Greece to interconnected neighboring countries.

Tourism boom revenue will help fund winter’s energy subsidies

The Greek tourism industry’s strong revenue figures being generated this summer, which could exceed those of the record-breaking summer of 2019 if July’s heightened activity is sustained through August, will prove invaluable in financing energy subsidies needed in coming months.

At the current rate, Greece’s tourism industry could contribute between 19 and 20 billion euros to the budget, well over the budget forecast of 16 to 17 billion euros.

International authorities, including Fatih Birol, executive director of the International Energy Agency, are warning of even tougher times ahead.

European countries greatly dependent on Russian natural gas are scrambling for solutions ahead of next winter. Germany is seeking nuclear-energy assistance from France. Chancellor Olaf Scholtz has reiterated energy prices will remain high for some time yet. Italian energy company Enel has warned customers that it cannot guarantee gas and electricity prices will continue to be offered under current agreements.

Latest calculations indicate that Greece’s electricity bill subsidies for households and businesses could soon exceed one billion euros per month.

The country’s electricity subsidy cost for August is expected to greatly exceed July’s figure of 722 million euros, which was based on a cost of 240 euros per MWh, now over 300 euros per MWh.

 

Brussels report highlights EU’s alarming energy cost increase

The cost of wholesale electricity in the EU rose by over 400 percent in the first quarter of 2022, compared to the equivalent period a year earlier, while gas imports during this period cost the EU a total of 78 billion euros, of which 27 billion euros concerned Russian natural gas quantities, a report published by the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Energy has shown.

Households and businesses across the continent have faced unprecedented natural gas cost increases following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February. Consequently, the TTF index skyrocketed to peak at 212 euros per MWh on March 7.

The EU adopted a series of sanctions primarily concerning the energy sector as a result of the Russian attack, the report noted. Also, in May, the EU approved its REPower EU plan, designed to gradually end Europe’s reliance on Russian fossil fuels, bolster the continent’s energy security, and support the green-energy transition.

Imports of Russian gas fell by 71 percent via Belarus and 41 percent via Ukraine in the first quarter of 2022, compared to the equivalent period a year earlier. Gas inflow from the Nord Stream pipeline linking Russia with Germany fell by 60 percent in early June.

Europe’s wholesale electricity price averaged 201 euros per MWh in the first quarter of 2022, 281 percent higher than the equivalent period in 2021, the report noted.

Spain and Portugal registered the highest wholesale electricity price increases during this period, a 411 percent rise, followed by Greece (343%) and France (336%), the report noted.

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.

Europe on edge as Russia limits supply, fiscal revisions needed

Emergency measures are being prepared around Europe, confronting reduced Russian gas supplies and fearing even greater cuts. It remains a mystery if the Nord Steam I gas pipeline – linking Russia with Germany, and by extension, other markets – will reopen on July 21. The pipeline was shut yesterday for a 10-day period to undergo maintenance, according to Russian officials.

Anything is possible from July 21 onwards. Russian gas supply through Nord Steam I could increase or may dry up completely.

In response, German officials are preparing to reactivate coal-fired power stations to make up for energy-source insufficiencies prompted by Russia’s reduced gas supply, while, energy-consumption restrictions, including an order urging household members to take fewer hot showers, could also be introduced, if needed.

In France, industries are turning to oil for energy, while Italian oil and gas company ENI has announced Gazprom will cut its gas supply by a further one third.

In Greece, the fiscal pressure caused by the months-long energy crisis, exacerbated by Russia’s war on Ukraine, is seen resulting in a budget deficit of 2 percent in 2022. A fiscal adjustment will be needed to transform this deficit into a 1 percent primary surplus in 2023.

Such a fiscal improvement, however, may not be possible given the current gas and electricity price levels. The government’s electricity-bill subsidy support for consumers is costing between 800 million and one billion euros a month.

 

Nord Stream I maintenance closure sparks unrest in Europe

Europe today enters a ten-day period of heightened energy-crisis suspense as Moscow’s real intentions over the Nord Steam I gas pipeline, just closed for annual maintenance, will not be known until July 21, when the subsea pipeline, running from Russia to Germany, is scheduled to reopen.

European leaders are worried the pipeline’s ten-day closure could develop into an indefinite closure, the worst-case scenario. Natural gas prices, as a result, are continuing to escalate.

In France, the country’s power utility EDF will be nationalized to help the company ride out the European energy crisis and invest in atomic plants. In Germany, the emergency effort includes electricity consumption restrictions as well as rescue plans for beleaguered companies, among them the Uniper energy group.

All is possible should the Nord Steam I pipeline not reopen on July 21, from a deep recession in Germany, an intensified energy crisis throughout Europe, company bankruptcies, electricity and natural gas rationing, and further cost-of-living increases.

Two in ten enterprises around Europe are currently battling to stay afloat, according to the European Investment Bank.

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.

Greece, Europe fear impact of heatwaves, Russian gas cuts

The country and Europe, as a whole, are bracing for even greater energy-system pressure ahead of anticipated summer heatwaves around the continent and the threat of intensified natural gas shortages.

The upcoming temporary closure of the Nord Stream gas pipeline, linking Russia with Germany, for annual maintenance work between July 11 and 21, according to Nord Stream AG, the gas pipeline operator, has European officials concerned the move could be a precursor for a full disruption. This would have a knock-on effect on natural gas prices all the way down to the Balkans.

Under the currently mild market conditions of pre-heatwave low demand, electricity prices in Greece are at 323.78 euros per MWh today. Officials dread the impact on prices of higher heatwave-induced electricity demand, combined with further Russian gas supply cuts to Europe.

At this stage, there is no way of knowing if Greece will be able to continue importing electricity from its northern neighbors if further Russian gas supply cuts prompt a wider shortage. In such a case, neighboring countries, like Greece, could look to fully cover domestic demand before thinking about exporting electricity.

Greek electricity producers are currently exporting considerable quantities to Bulgaria, Albania and Italy, driven by high prices fetched. Prices for electricity exports to Italy today are at 418 euros per MWh. However, electricity exporters may be forced to disrupt these sales in the event of an acute energy crisis in the Greek market.

 

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.

Strategic reserve mechanism application to be withdrawn

The energy ministry intends to withdraw its application submitted to the European Commission for a strategic reserve mechanism as a result of the government’s recent decision to revise its withdrawal plan for the country’s lignite-fired power stations in order to permit operations until 2028 instead of 2025, as was planned.

Under the original plan, the strategic reserve mechanism would have been introduced to maintain lignite-fired power stations under the control of power grid operator IPTO for energy contributions during periods of high demand.

Within the framework of these developments, the government is also considering to withdraw a compensation application for power utility PPC’s premature withdrawal of lignite-fired power stations.

PPC’s plan entailed shutting down all existing lignite-fired power stations by the end of 2023.

However, the government is being forced to delay its decarbonization strategy as a result of the steep rise in gas prices prompted by Russia’s war on Ukraine.

EU on edge as gas supply falls, emergency action in Germany

As officials in Greece and Europe tentatively wait to see if the TurkStream pipeline will resume operating next week, following an announcement several days ago by Russia’s Gazprom that gas supply via both lines of its TurkStream pipeline would be temporarily suspended June 21 to 28 for scheduled annual maintenance, Germany has just moved into the second of its three-stage emergency gas plan after Russia slowed supplies to the country, intensifying concerns of a market collapse.

The TurkStream suspension comes amid major disruptions to Gazprom’s supplies to Europe. Natural gas flow through the Nord Stream pipeline, running from Russia to Germany and also supplying the rest of Europe, has been cut by more than half since last week. Gazprom cited an equipment hold-up in Canada as a result of sanctions over the Ukraine war.

With fears, over recent months, of a drastic slowdown in Russian gas supply to Europe, now confirmed, the EU and its member states, all on high alert, are laying out emergency plans ahead of next winter.

Germany warned the country’s energy crisis may trigger a “Lehman effect” across the utility sector as it moved one step closer to rationing natural gas. “The whole market is in danger of collapsing at some point — so a Lehman effect in the energy system,” German economy minister Robert Habeck admitted at a press conference.

Under the second stage of Germany’s emergency gas plan, utility companies can pass on price increases to customers. The government is holding back on triggering a clause preventing this for now.

 

Greek, Italian PMs to reiterate call for EU price cap on wholesale gas

The leaders of Greece and Italy will once again call for an EU-wide cap on wholesale gas prices, this time as an even more urgent measure given Russia’s latest gas-supply cuts to Europe, at a summit of EU leaders beginning today.

However, it remains unclear if Greek prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and his Italian counterpart Mario Draghi can convince fellow EU member state leaders to join them for a wider European front favoring the cap.

The two leaders will not be entering the summit talks with high expectations as their cause has not been included on the summit’s agenda of topics to be discussed. Even so, the cap issue is expected to be discussed tomorrow, given the latest surge in energy prices.

The Greek and Italian leaders are expected to highlight the alarming rise of natural gas over the past ten days, up 50 percent, as well as yesterday’s dire warning by Fatih Birol, executive director of the International Energy Agency, telling Europe to prepare for a full disruption of Russian natural gas.

Mitsotakis, the Greek leader, had also called for a cap on wholesale gas prices in March.

Authorities in Italy, one of Europe’s most dependent countries on Russian energy sources, have announced that they are examining an emergency plan, including electricity and gas use restrictions for households, businesses and industry, if Gazprom does not resume regular gas supply to the country, cut by half just days ago.

Slovakia has also reported receiving less than half of the usual volumes. France has informed it had received no Russian gas from Germany since mid-June, but the country is getting supplies from elsewhere.

Bulgaria, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands and Poland have already had their Russian gas deliveries suspended after refusing a demand to pay in Russian roubles.

 

Emergency measures for supply security through 2023

The government is rushing to approve a series of emergency measures aiming to protect energy supply security through 2023 following Russia’s latest reduction of natural gas to Europe.

Last Friday, Russia halved its natural gas deliveries to Italy and Slovakia and cut off France after previously disrupting all natural gas flow to Bulgaria, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands and Poland.

An energy ministry draft bill carrying the emergency measures was submitted to parliament late last Friday night.

It includes articles for the installation of a floating storage unit at the LNG terminal on Revythoussa, the islet just off Athens; extended operation of power stations on Crete, until December 31, 2023; as well as mobilization of power stations on islands interconnected with the mainland as back-up facilities.

Further support funds sought, higher energy prices feared

The government is frantically searching for additional funds to keep supporting its energy subsidies program, fearing a further reduction in Russian gas and oil supplies to Europe in autumn and even higher fuel, natural gas and electricity prices.

Athens’ current support package for households and businesses, worth 3.2 billion euros, of which 1.1 billion has been drawn from the budget, will not suffice should energy prices continue rising.

The government is looking to make the most of all available European funding programs, such as the National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF), the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF), and REPowerEU, the recent plan established by the European Commission to end the EU’s reliance on Russian fossil fuels.

Athens is examining whether support from these sources, combined with national budget money, would be enough to offer consumers ongoing protection from further energy price rises.

According to a worst-case scenario, the country’s overall electricity cost this year will reach between 14 and 15 billion euros, triple the pre-crisis and war level of 5 billion euros.

Also, every 10 euro rise in the price of natural gas decreases Greece’s GDP by 500 to 600 million euros and requires 300 to 400 billion euros in budget money for offsetting consequent electricity price increases.

RAE delivers grid emergency action plan, listing 16 dangers

RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, has forwarded, for consultation, an emergency action plan for Greece’s electricity sector, listing a total of 16 possible danger scenarios, two of which, a disruption of Russian natural gas supply and cyberattacks at crucial energy infrastructure, are regarded as highly probable and intolerable.

The aforementioned dangers, along with natural disasters, such as extreme weather conditions, would prompt extended outages, putting lives at risk and resulting in a leakage of information crucial for national security, according to the action plan, which RAE prepared with support from power grid operator IPTO.

Other dangers included in this list include equipment failure, floods, heat waves, snow storms, forest fires and human error.

The action plan’s proposed responses, to avoid grid collapse or even destruction, include load reductions, pumped storage station and electricity export disruptions, activation of reserve solutions and consumption-reduction mechanisms, and, as a last resort, electricity supply disruptions for businesses and households.

PPC awaits Brussels energy strategy to decide on Ptolemaida V

Power utility PPC will wait for the European Commission’s finalized decisions on a strategic plan intended to end the EU’s reliance on Russian fossil fuels before it decides on the operating and conversion details of its prospective Ptolemaida V power station in northern Greece, to be launched as a lignite-fired facility before being converted to natural gas.

The PPC board is now expected to decide on Ptolemaida V’s conversion date towards the end of this year, according to sources.

Ptolemaida V, expected to undergo a trial run in the second half of the year before being launched late in the year or early in 2023, will be introduced as Greece’s last lignite-fired power station.

Early in April, prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced extensions to withdrawal dates for older lignite-fired power stations that were originally headed for closure prior to 2025. At the time, the prime minister also informed that Ptolemaida V could now operate as a lignite-fired unit until 2028.

Revisions to the country’s decarbonization plan have been prompted by energy security concerns following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the exacerbation of the preceding energy crisis as a result of this war.

The Greek government has decided to increase lignite mining output as a safety measure should Russia interrupt its natural gas supply.

A year ago, PPC had announced it intended to convert Ptolemaida V into a natural gas-fired facility as of 2025, but the latest energy security concerns froze this plan.

 

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.

 

Israeli power grid operator officials in Athens for grid link

The energy ministry and power grid operator IPTO seem determined to press ahead with two major grid interconnection projects, one to link Greece with Cyprus and Israel, the other Greece and Egypt, REPowerEU, Europe’s strategic plan aiming to end the continent’s reliance on Russian fossil fuels through energy-source diversification, being the driving force behind this action.

IPTO, according to sources, is just about ready to forward a proposal for participation in EuroAsia Interconnector, a consortium established for the development of the Israel-Cyprus-Greece grid interconnection.

Highlighting the activity concerning the project, officials of Israel’s power grid operator are in Athens for talks today with IPTO’s chief executive Manos Manousakis and other company officials.

The Israeli officials will also take part in an ensuing meeting with Greek energy minister Kostas Skrekas.

Israeli interest in the grid interconnection has grown following the European Commission’s decision to make available 657 million euros for the project’s Cyprus-Greece section.

The Israel-Cyprus-Greece grid interconnection will facilitate RES development in Israel, promising to contribute to the EU-27 aim for an end of Europe’s reliance on Russian fossil fuels.

The grid link, to measure 1,208 kilometers and offer a 1-GW capacity, will also end Cyprus’ energy isolation and offer energy security to Israel.

It is budgeted at 2.5 billion euros with completion slated for the end of 2025, if procedures go according to plan.

Manousakis, the IPTO chief executive, plans to visit Cairo during June for talks with officials at Egypt’s power grid operator, EETC. Progress on the prospective Greek-Egyptian grid link has been smooth. The two sides are now preparing for a feasibility study.

Skrekas, the energy minister, is expected to be in Egypt sooner, to take part in the East Med Gas Forum, scheduled for June 14 and 15. He is expected to meet with Egyptian energy ministry officials on the sidelines of this event, for talks on the Greek-Egyptian grid link.

This project, based on a proposal from the Copelouzos group, entails a subsea cable from Egypt to the Greek capital.

It is budgeted at 3.5 billion euros and will offer a 3-GW capacity for renewable energy, which will also be exported to other EU member states through grid interconnections linking Greece with neighboring countries.

NECP officials at odds over future gas role in Greece

Local authorities are at odds over the role of natural gas in the country’s National Energy and Climate Plan, to be revised, as well as on the decarbonization road map for the coming decades.

A second session just held by an energy ministry working group assembled for the NECP revisions has revealed contrasting views on the future plans for natural gas in Greece, energypress sources have informed.

One side of the working group’s members wants an end to the expansion of natural gas in Greece and containment of investments for new natural gas infrastructure, especially networks.

At the other end, a second group of officials supports that Europe’s intention to end the continent’s reliance on Russian natural gas highlights the need for diversification of energy sources in Greece, as the country’s system is designed based on the assumption of Russia being a key supplier of natural gas.

This group also noted that Greece, based on the new European energy plan, stands to become a main gateway for natural gas to the wider region and, as a result, is favorably positioned for related gas infrastructure investments worth 10 billion euros, through the REPowerEU plan, prompted by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

 

Greece envisioned as gas supply solution in Europe, Balkans

Greece is seen as a natural gas supply solution by Balkan and European countries, a Regional Task Force meeting in Sofia, staged within the framework of the EU Energy Platform –  formed to help establish common natural gas and hydrogen markets – has made apparent.

The Sofia meetings agenda focused on the search of natural gas supply solutions given an anticipated demand increase in Europe, including the continent’s southeast, Mihalis Thomadakis, Director of Strategy and Management at gas grid operator DESFA, who participated in the Sofia meeting, has told an ensuing industry event, Athens Energy Dialogues.

He was a member of the Greek delegation in Sofia led by Nektaria Karakatsani, an energy ministry expert on energy policy matters.

Delegations representing Ukraine, Bulgaria, Romania, Croatia and Moldova also took part at the Regional Task Force meeting in Sofia.

Thomadakis, the DESFA official, underlined that gas network upgrades need to be developed as quickly as possible in order to meet new needs emerging.

Besides the EU Energy Platform, established in April as part of Europe’s plan for a swift end to its reliance on Russian natural gas, the European Commission, in collaboration with the International Energy Agency, has also formed the Technical Support Instrument, a project already involving seventeen EU member states, for the same purpose.

The TSI project is promoting energy source diversification and transmission, biomethane production, international hydrogen trade, roof-mounted solar energy installations, energy efficiency measures, swifter RES licensing procedures, innovative hydrogen solutions, as well as RES projects for the industrial sector.

 

Key energy infrastructure included in new recovery fund

The government, intending to make the most of its favourable geographic location for diversified natural gas supply in the wider region, plans to seek EU funding support, through the REPowerEU package, for a series of natural gas and electricity grid projects awaiting development.

These projects are planned to be included in the country’s revised EU Recovery and Resilience Facility, to be submitted to by the government to the European Commission by early July.

The investments will aim to end Greece’s reliance on Russian energy sources by 2027, as planned by the REPowerEU package.

Besides the addition of natural gas infrastructure, absent from Greece’s existing recovery plan as a result of the European Commission’s unfavorable view on funding support for projects concerning natural gas, seen as a transitional energy source towards zero emissions, the country’s revised plan will also seek to incorporate electricity transmission projects that will contribute to the reinforcement of renewable energy sources in Europe’s energy mix.

The government is believed to have already prepared its catalogue of electricity and natural gas infrastructure project proposals to seek funding through the REPowerEU initiative.

An electricity grid interconnection project to link the Greek and Egyptian systems and transmit green energy, exclusively, to Greece and the EU has been included in the Greek catalogue, sources informed.

An additional central gas pipeline, to run 650 km from Komotini, northeastern Greece, to Elefsina’s Patima area, west of Athens, has also been included in the Greek catalogue, following a request by DESFA, the gas grid operator.

REPowerEU details unveiled, RES acceleration a key aspect

The European Commission has unveiled details of its REPowerEU plan, a road map intended to eliminate Europe’s reliance on Russian energy sources.

Brussels’ road map will aim to eliminate Russian gas, oil and coal imports into the EU by 2027. The renewable energy sector is planned to play a key role in this effort. The European Commission has increased the RES sector’s energy-mix target to 45 percent, up from 40 percent, by 2030 and will seek to accelerate RES investments.

Solar energy utilization will be a pivotal factor of this strategy, to be promoted through the European Solar Rooftop Initiative, part of the REPowerEU plan.

The wider plan will push for an energy savings increase of 13 percent by 2030, up from the present objective aiming for a 9 percent increase in savings.

The European Commission estimates investments totaling 210 billion euros will need to be made by 2027, as an addition to the previous Fit for 55 plan, which set a target for a 55 percent reduction of carbon emissions by 2030, compared to 1990 levels.

Russian gas payments by Greek companies due next few days

Greek companies that have imported Russian natural gas supplied by Gazprom and face installment payment deadlines expiring between May 20 and 25 are expected to accept Moscow’s ruble-currency demands as part of a wider EU approach that still remains unclear.

Even so, the European Commission, appearing set to revise EU directives concerning payment procedures by member states for Russian gas, is believed to be adjusting to Moscow’s ruble-currency demands.

Greek companies that have imported Russian gas believe the dispute will soon be resolved and are awaiting EU directives and related signals from the Greek government before proceeding with installment payments, sources informed.

The Greek government and the country’s energy players are continuing to observe emergency plans as energy supply security remains a threat as long as Russia’s war on Ukraine continues.

 

 

LNG order costs fall as much as 40% below TTF prices

The cost of LNG orders placed in recent days has fallen 10 to 40 percent below levels at the Dutch TTF exchange, driven lower by fine weather around Europe and subdued demand in Asia as a result of lockdown restrictions imposed over the past two months by authorities in China, insisting on a zero-Covid policy.

LNG price levels are also lower at the TTF exchange, easing to levels between 93.5 and 94 euros per MWh, the lowest since February.

Market pressure has also eased as a decision by Ukraine to disrupt a pipeline supplying Russian gas to Europe has had less negative impact than initially feared.

Ukraine’s decision, believed to have been taken to pressure the West for stricter sanctions against Russia, prompted Russia’s Gazprom to find a bypass solution through alternative routes to the EU.

These developments could lead to a significant reduction in wholesale electricity prices as a result of less price pressure faced by electricity producers.

The duration of China’s lockdown will greatly shape LNG market developments. For the time being, LNG orders that had been intended for China are being redirected to Europe.

Though supply to Asia has fallen considerably from high levels recorded just months ago, LNG demand typically increases in China, Japan and South Korea during summer.