Next Tuesday, May 3, will see the official launch of the new floating storage regasification unit (FSRU) at Alexandroupoli by Gastrade, in the presence of the prime ministers of Greece, Bulgaria and North Macedonia, the president of Serbia and the energy ministers of all four countries.
The representation of the three other Balkan countries at top level highlights the strategic significance this FSRU is perceived to have for the diversification of supply sources and their emancipation from Russian gas.
Sources say that dozens of companies from the neighboring countries are rushing to book capacity in the unit, which is scheduled to start operating from 2023, as well as gas producers interested in selling the fuel to Balkan states.
Implementation entity Gastrade is making efforts to complete the project six months ahead of schedule in order to contribute toward strengthening Greece’s and the region’s energy security. The Alexandroupoli FSRU will constitute the fourth gate of natural gas entry into the country, with a maximum supply capacity of 944,000 cubic meters per hour or 8.3 billion c.m. per year. Its storage capacity will come to 170,000 c.m. of liquefied natural gas.
Through the Interconnector Greece Bulgaria (IGB) pipeline, to be completed this summer, gas will reach Bulgaria and then Serbia (through the Bulgaria-Serbia connection) and North Macedonia via the interconnection plan with Greece.
Budgeted at 363.7 million euros in total, the project will constitute a floating unit for the reception, temporary storage and regasification of LNG, and a system of underwater and land pipelines for the gas to be transmitted to the national grid.
Gastrade consists of the Copelouzos Group, Gaslog Investments (a 100% subsidiary of Gaslog that owns and manages over 35 LNG carriers), DEPA Commercial with a 20% stake, Bulgartransgaz EAD (BTG), the Bulgarian grid operator, with another 20%, and Greece’s grid company (DESFA), also with 20%.
Gastrade is also preparing a second FSRU in the Thracian Sea off the coast of Alexandroupoli: The Thrace FSRU will have a storage capacity of 170,000 c.m. of LNG and will be able to deliver up to 22.7 million c.m. of gas per day or 5.5 billion c.m. per annum.