The European Union is making plans for its full and swift disengagement from Russia’s natural gas, which could have immediate consequences for Greece, both positive and negative.
Brussels has started examining alternative proposals for each member-state and Athens is already contemplating the prospect of extending the operation of some lignite-fired power plants, to ensure security of supply in case all other alternatives do not suffice.
Regarding the new unit at Ptolemaida, northern Greece, Public Power Corporation sources do not rule out the revisiting of the decision to turn it from lignite- to gas-powered as of 2025. They do acknowledge, however, that based on EU decisions, any gas plan for the unit would also have to incorporate hydrogen technology, to secure it an extra lease of life.
The review of the use of gas for heating by the EU brings new opportunities to Greece, given the need for the redrafting of the EU pipeline map. The significance of liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals under construction or being planned at Greek ports is growing, with Greece evolving into a gas hub for the Balkan states that are now 100% dependent on Russian gas.
Sources familiar with the new strategy estimate that conditions favor the creation of an LNG terminal at every Greek port. Very soon the Revythousa facility will cease to be the sole LNG infrastructure in Greece. Investment plans are under way for Alexandroupoli port, while another terminal, at Agioi Theodoroi near Corinth, by Motor Oil is in the binding phase of the market test. Last month the Regulatory Authority for Energy also approved another LNG terminal license at the port of Volos, by Mediterranean Gas SA.
Greece’s geopolitical role would grow further if Europe turns again to Eastern Mediterranean hydrocarbon reserves as a reliable and safe source of supply, and to the EastMed pipeline for gas transmission, an option that recently resurfaced.
Developments are also speeding up another project of geopolitical significance for Greece, and that is the electricity interconnection with Egypt through which the Greek grid will get 3 gigawatts of green power from Egyptian photovoltaics.