Plans for use of natural gas in transport to include Greece

By Chryssa Liaggou

Major firms, including Qatar Petroleum and Gazprom, appear to be interested in creating the infrastructure to supply liquefied natural gas to ships in Piraeus. Meanwhile, the global natural gas industry is saying that natural gas as a fuel for transport could be made available at a price of just 50 percent of that paid for gasoline and 70 percent that for diesel.

Some 370 senior officials from among the world’s biggest companies were in Athens on Thursday to participate in the 17th general meeting of the European Business Congress (EBC). The meeting focused on the use of natural gas in transport as part of a strategy aimed at a dynamic expansion into the sector that would snatch a large market share from electricity due to the international economic slowdown.

Chairing the event was Gazprom chief Alexey Miller, whose speech illustrated the significance that the Russian energy giant attaches to the use of natural gas as transport fuel. “Gazprom is a global enterprise and desires to change the situation in the transport industry. We have a close relationship with strong players who hold key roles in the car industry and we intend to expand the network of natural gas outlets,” said Miller.

Gazprom’s strategy, shared by other natural gas producers including Qatar and suppliers such as Germany’s Eon and Italy’s ENI, includes the Greek market, which is trailing other countries in gas-powered transport by a considerable degree.

Energy Minister Yiannis Maniatis revealed that his ministry as well as those of Merchant Marine and Transport are preparing a plan for the use of LNG in coastal shipping.

He also confirmed Qatar Petroleum’s interest in creating the infrastructure to supply LNG to ships in Piraeus and referred to a more general interest by gas producers in the same sector, in other words describing Gazprom.