Technical studies for a floating LNG terminal being planned for Alexandroupoli, northeastern Greece, are expected to be completed by this coming summer.
The prospective project was described as one of pivotal importance for Europe’s energy security and US interests, Robin Dunnigan, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Diplomacy at the US Department of State’s Bureau of Energy Resources, noted yesterday following talks with officials at Gastrade, a Copelouzos corporate group company interested in the LNG unit’s development, as well as Greece’s energy minister Giorgos Stathakis.
The official pointed out that the US’s transformation from natural gas importer to exporter has led to a revision of the country’s outlook on the southeast European region and projects such as the prospective Alexandroupoli facility.
Dunnigan pointed out that annual US LNG exports are expected to exceed 100 billion cubic meters over the next five to seven years, increasing the country’s global market share in the sector to around 20 percent.
This prospect has increased the importance of the Alexandroupoli LNG station for US gas trading companies as the facility is being regarded as a gateway for American shale gas into the Balkans and central Europe.
The US energy official also noted that the US government plans to offer support to American firms planning to invest in Greece’s energy market, a remark interpreted as an indirect reference to Cheniere, which has expressed an interest to export LNG and supply the wider Balkans via the prospective Alexandroupoli facility. To date, Cheniere has already completed sixteen American LNG shipments to Europe.
Work on the FEED (front-end engineering and design) technical study being conducted for the Alexandroupoli floating station began recently. Its expected completion by this coming summer will enable Gastrade to make a final investment decision by the end of 2017.
If all goes well, the Alexandroupoli facility, a floating Storage Regasification Unit (FSRU) with a 170,000 cubic meter capacity planned for a location 17.6 km southwest of the Alexandroupoli port, will begin operating at the end of 2019.
Classified as an EU Project of Common Interest (PCI), the facility is planned to be incorporated with the region’s TAP pipeline and Greek-Bulgarian IGB interconnection.