Long-standing DESFA northern Greece pipeline plan scrapped

Gas grid operator DESFA has scrapped plans for a natural gas pipeline that had been envisioned to run across northern Greece, from Komotini in the northeast to Thesprotia in the northwest, after maintaining the project in the company’s business plans for about a decade.

DESFA reached this decision as Russian President Vladimir Putin is supporting Gazprom’s development of a second branch for the wider Turkish Stream gas project, deviating Ukraine, to supply the Balkans and central Europe via Bulgaria, not Greece, as was initially considered.

A first Turkish Stream branch supplying Russian gas to Turkey is already operating.

“The project remained on the business plan for approximately ten years without progressing to the construction stage, while there is no sign of conditions leading to its construction in the immediate future,” DESFA announced.

The Komotini-Thesprotia pipeline project was budgeted at 1.8 billion euros.

The total cost of projects included in DEFSA’s development plan for 2021-2030 is now budgeted at 545.5 million euros.

IGI Poseidon licensing procedures ‘ready by summer’

The prospective IGI Poseidon gas pipeline, planned to run though Greece’s north and across the Adriatic Sea to Italy as a supply route for Russian gas to Europe, is expected to be fully licensed by the summer, energypress sources have informed.

Regarded as an investment plan of major global interest, IGI Poseidon is now at the public consultation stage after years of preliminary work.

Its developers, the Greek gas utility DEPA and Italy’s Edison, are currently staging a public consultation procedure on the project’s environmental impact study. Interested parties have until March 27 to submit their views.

The Poseidon company intends to make final investment decisions once all licensing and market test procedures have been completed.

DEPA, Edison and Gazprom have signed a memorandum of cooperation to explore the possibility of the project’s link with Turkish Stream, planned to transmit Russian gas to the Greek-Turkish border. Officials are now also looking into whether the pipeline can be connected with East Med, to link the Greek, Cypriot and Israeli systems, and the Greek-Bulgarian IGB route.

IGI Poseidon gas pipeline prospects on PM’s Moscow visit agenda

The development prospects of an IGI Poseidon gas pipeline though Greece’s north and across the Adriatic Sea to Italy as a supply route for Russian gas to Europe, a plan opposed by the US, is expected to be on the agenda of a meeting between Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Russian President Vladimir Putin scheduled for December 7 on Moscow.

The majority of license-related procedures needed by Greek gas utility DEPA and Italy’s Edison for the IGI Poseidon gas pipeline have been completed, the two European firms informed Russia’s Gazprom at a recent three-way meeting in Moscow.

The IGI Poseidon gas pipeline is envisaged to serve as an extension of Turkish Stream.

DEPA and Edison officials are confident a gas pipeline route through Greece, rather than Bulgaria, as suggested by Moscow on occasions, carries definite advantages.

The Greek-Italian pipeline is technically mature as 80 percent of studies have been completed, while license applications have been submitted to energy sector regulatory authorities and Brussels, DEPA and Edison officials informed during their Gazprom meeting.

However, as was made apparent at this three-way meeting, all sides remain concerned as to whether the European Commission will raise objections against the pipeline plan. Washington is pressuring EU member states to find alternative natural gas supply sources not involving Russia.

In Greece, US ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt is taking every opportunity to express America’s opposition to any further penetration by Gazprom of Greece’s energy sector.

Greek energy minister Giorgos Stathakis recently appeared hesitant on the prospect of a new pipeline to transmit Gazprom gas.

Much will depend on the outcome of an upcoming official US visit by Greece’s Alternate Minister of Foreign Affairs Giorgos Katrougalos between December 11 and 14. He will be joined by the energy ministry’s secretary general Mihalis Veriopoulos. DEPA and Edison will be waiting for political decisions concerning their Greek-Italian pipeline investment plan.

 

PM: Greece still working on Turkish Stream extension plan

Greece has not stopped working on the prospect of extending the Turkish Stream gas pipeline westward through northern Greek territory – for an Adriatic Sea crossing and gas supply to southern and central Europe – Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras noted during a speech delivered at the recent Thessaloniki Summit.

The Russian pipeline’s development all the way to Turkey’s European tip in the country’s northwest has been completed, thereby linking the gas systems of both nations, and will be marked by a ceremony today to be attended by Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Its 15.75-billion cubic meter capacity is 50 percent bigger than the TAP project.

Turkish Stream constitutes an alternative route for Russia following EU objections and the eventual debacle, in 2014, of South Stream, another gas transmission project that was planned to reach Bulgaria. The follow-up Russian plan anticipates a westward stretch from Turkey’s European tip to the Greek border, followed by an Adriatic Sea crossing. Officials are contemplating combining the pipeline with the IGI project.

DESFA, Snam also considering Greek-Italian pipeline crossing

Greek gas grid operator DESFA and Italy’s Snam, heading an all-European gas operator consortium set to acquire a 66 percent stake of the former, are conducting preliminary research to determine whether an interconnection project linking the Greek and Italian grids would represent a viable plan.

Russia’s Gazprom is seeking to establish a Greek-Italian route for Russian natural gas supply to the EU. The plan being considered by DESFA and Snam essentially constitutes an extension of the Turkish Stream, a gas pipeline project being developed by Russia and Turkey.

The project considered by DESFA and Snam would utilize an existing pipeline running from Kipoi, Evros, on Greece’s northeastern tip, by the border between Greece and Turkey, to Komotini, slightly westward. In addition, a new 613-km section would be constructed from Komotini to coastal Florovouni, Thesprotia, in northwestern Greece, along with a submarine pipeline crossing to Italy.

In another preceding action, Greek gas utility DEPA and Italian energy company Edison have already taken licensing initiatives and are seeking national and EU approval for a corresponding project through their ITGI Poseidon partnership. Gazprom support would be needed.

The DEPA-Edison plan is seen as a purely commercial venture whereas the DESFA-Snam alternative is regarded as a bilateral project that would link the national gas grids of Greece and Italy.

 

ITGI Poseidon seeks license for Turkish Stream Greek segment

ITGI Poseidon, a partnership established by DEPA, the Greek gas utility, and Italy’s Edison, is moving to develop Turkish Stream’s Greek segment – from a point at the Greek-Turkish borders running across the country’s north for an Adriatic Sea crossing to Italy – as long as Russia’a Gazprom chooses to support this plan as an additional supply route to Europe.

The big question at this stage is whether Gazprom will choose Greek or Bulgarian territory for the continuation of Turkish Stream, whose initial segment is planned to supply the Turkish market.

Roughly one month ago, certain international media outlets reported that Gazprom has chosen Bulgaria as its favored route for the pipeline’s extension beyond Turkey. However, a leading Gazprom official, Elena Burmistrova, chief executive at Gazprom Export, quickly denied these reports, noting that all options are still being examined, including ITGI Poseidon’s extension of Turkish Stream through Greece.

Like the TAP project, Turkish Stream’s extension would be developed as an independent natural gas system without any links to the national grid at any point.

According to sources, ITGI Poseidon has already submitted an application to RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, for a project license as an independent system. Then, as its next step, ITGI Poseidon plans to stage a market test. Gazpom would need to reserve a capacity that makes the pipeline sustainable if the project’s development is to progress.

Three years ago, Turkish Stream’s Greek extension represented a key part of the newly elected leftist Syriza party’s effort to establish closer energy ties with Russia and defy EU obligations. It has since become clear that the project can only be developed within the framework of EU regulations set for independent natural gas systems and terms included in the EU’s third energy package.

At the other end, Russia, too, will seek guarantees from Brussels before reaching any Turkish Stream extension decisions.

Just over a year ago, Gazprom, Edison and DEPA signed an agreement to develop the Southern Corridor at a ceremony attended by Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.

 

 

‘Turkish Stream’ supported if in line with EU law, minister says

Greece will support a Russian energy investment plan concerning “Turkish Stream”, a natural gas pipeline plan that would transmit Russian gas to Europe via Turkey, Greece – it is dubbed “Greek Stream” for its Greek segment – and Italy, as long as the plan complies with EU law, energy minister Giorgos Stathakis appears to have told his Russian counterpart, Alexander Novak, at a meeting on the sidelines of Russian Energy Week 2017, an ongoing conference in Moscow and St Petersburg.

Acknowledging the Russian project’s significance, Stathakis discussed its next steps with Novak and relayed the Greek government’s support through the development and incorporation of IGI Poseidon pipeline, an older plan envisaged to transport Russian natural gas from Greece to southern Italy via a submarine Adriatic Sea crossing. IGI Poseidon is fully licensed for development.

The Greek energy minister reportedly underlined that, ultimately, it would be up to Brussels to decide on whether the pipeline plan can proceed.