Vopak submits plan to build fuel storage terminal on Crete

By Dimitra Manifava

After two years of negotiations, Dutch group Vopak has finally submitted an application to state authority Invest in Greece for the creation of a fuel storage terminal close to Atherinolakkos in southern Crete, an investment budgeted at 500 million euros.

The Dutch group’s request is under assessment and whether it will be included in the fast-track system will be discussed at one of the next meetings of the Ministerial Committee for Strategic Investments.

The submission of the application by one of the world’s biggest companies in fuel storage shows that Dutch interest had never disappeared despite rumors to the contrary. Sources say that some 1,500 jobs will be created during the storage spaces’ construction stage, while permanent jobs afterward will number around 200.

The issue of fuel storage space is crucial for the market on Crete, as the existing facilities are insufficient to cover the region’s needs, especially during the busy summer season. The choice of Crete as a site for a fuel terminal station is also linked to two other points: that Greece is one of the few spots in the eastern Mediterranean where there is no conflict or threat of violent actions, and that the first contracts for the utilization of hydrocarbons in Greece have recently been signed.

Vopak operates 79 storage terminals in 29 countries, with a total capacity of over 31 million cubic meters, and its turnover last year came to 1.3 billion euros.

The ministerial committee will convene in the first half of June to examine the inclusion of 14 investment plans in the fast-track system, 12 of which are energy projects that Environment and Energy Minister Yiannis Maniatis recently recommended. They concern three electricity projects, including the power interconnection of Greece, Cyprus and Israel, four projects regarding the South Stream natural gas corridor, and five other gas projects.

The other projects to be examined concern the energy upgrade of The Mall Athens, a 10-million-euro investment, and the creation of the Ithaca Resort luxury tourism resort on the Ionian island by the Aghya SA company, which will include a five-star hotel, a spa and a golf course.