ECONOMY

Plan B to boost gas reserves being prepared

Plan B to boost gas reserves being prepared

The Greek government is preparing a backup plan to ensure adequate energy imports in case Russia stops supplying natural gas, in violation of the agreement signed between Greece’s Public Gas Corporation and Russia’s Gazprom.

Part of the plan is to expand the capacity of the liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal on the island of Revythoussa, off the coast of Attica, by permanently tethering an LNG carrier to the island. That would add 100,000 cubic meters to the existing 225,000 m3 of the three tanks on the island. This would increase the readily available reserves of natural gas from less than a month to almost a month and a half.

Another action is to negotiate an agreement with Italy to store LNG in its own, vastly more extensive, tank network; it is estimated that up to 500 million cubic meters could be stored there.

While the plan is being prepared, the European Union on Friday night narrowly avoided a collapse in its talks on how to deal with the substantial spike in energy prices as a result of both the war in Ukraine and the damage to global supply routes caused by the pandemic.

The contentious point was the proposal, backed by Greece, to impose a ceiling on electricity prices. Portugal and Spain, arguing about their relative isolation from European power networks, argued against it; at one point Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez was ready to storm out of the room.

In the end, the two countries won an exemption. EU leaders also agreed on extra taxes hitting power companies that enjoy hefty profits from the situation. An agreement to maintain adequate natural gas reserves was also reached.