Private Greek industrial group Mytilineos has overtaken incumbent DEPA to become the country’s biggest LNG importer this year, the first time in history that an independent company has knocked the state-owned company from the top spot, ICIS an information platform on petrochemicals and specifically on energy issues, fertilisers and other commodities said in a report.
Mytilineos imported over 370,000 tonnes of LNG from January to July, or 39 percent of the national total supplies, according to LNG Edge. DEPA took 273,000 tonnes, or 29 percent.
DEPA’s market share was 92 percent last year, and has never previously fallen below 50 pct. The shift indicates the progress made in one of the last countries in the European Union to liberalize its gas market.
The market began opening back in 2005, but momentum picked up from 2018 when the retail market was fully liberalized, leaving consumers free to choose their supplier. DEPA has been losing customers ever since.
With demand from the electricity power sector as well as industrial needs in aluminium manufacturing, Mytilineos is at the forefront of the market.
Mytilineos is one of several private importers to enter the market this year, alongside Greek-Italian joint venture ELPEDISON, local trader Motor Oil and HERON, which counts France’s ENGIE and Qatar Petroleum among its shareholders.
Mytilineos and Motor Oil previously bought LNG under joint venture M&M Natural Gas, but on 16 January Mytilineos completed the acquisition of Motor Oil’s stake in the company.
Market sources said Mytilineos's main advantage was its "solid consumption." With 1,200MW of gas-fired power generation capacity (14 pct of installed thermal capacity nationwide), it has the broadest domestic demand base of all independent operators in Greece.
That dominance looks set to grow further in the future. Last month Mytilineos announced the start of construction on a new 826MW CCGT power station in the central Voiotia region, one of the biggest such facilities in Europe.
Access to low gas prices also strengthens Greece’s hand as an energy hub, and creates investment opportunities for companies prepared to take the risk.
The first physical reverse flows from Greece to Bulgaria took place in May.
The IGB pipeline across the same border will further strengthen flows when it comes online in 2020, the same year first gas is expected via the TAP section of the Southern Gas Corridor bringing Azeri gas to Europe.