The agreement signed on Tuesday to start the construction of the Alexandroupoli Floating Storage and Regasification Unit (FSRU) signals a change on the energy map in Southeastern Europe, with Greece emerging as a leading gas supplier for the region.
The new terminal, slated for launch in December 2023, is expected to bolster Greece’s energy security and enhance its regional strategic role, while also providing an alternative natural gas supply route that does not pass through Turkey and will reduce dependence on Russian gas.
Speaking at the inauguration of the landmark project in the port city in northern Greece, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said it will be a “new energy gateway” that will help Europe and the Balkans become less reliant on Russian supplies.
The deal was signed by Mitsotakis and Bulgarian Prime Minister Kiril Petkov, in the presence of other Balkan leaders, the president of the European Council, Charles Michel and US Ambassador to Greece Geoffrey R. Pyatt.
The project, Mitsotakis said, is a “beacon sending a dual message.”
“With its completion we will soon be able to rid ourselves of gas coming from Russian sources and our countries are assuming a common role on the new energy map,” he said, addressing an audience that also included, among other dignitaries, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and North Macedonia’s Prime Minister Dimitar Kovacevski.
Mitsotakis said the new floating tank at Revithoussa, an island west of Athens, will increase LNG gasification by 155,000 cubic meters and the Alexandroupoli terminal will add 155,000 c.m., while the installation of a floating LNG terminal near Agioi Theodoroi, Corinth, is imminent.
“The total regasification capacity will be 8,500,000 c.m.. Greek LNG stations will be able to cover not only the Greek market but also to replace a very important part of the supply of Russian gas in the Balkans,” Mitsotakis said, stating his “absolute political commitment” that work on the Alexandroupoli FSRU will be completed within the next 20 months, opening “a new energy gateway for the Balkans and SE Europe.”
“Moscow’s recent blackmail over natural gas makes cooperation not only necessary but, I would say, urgent. Greece is a pioneer and has already taken care of its own national energy sufficiency and is of course willing to assist neighboring countries like Bulgaria,” he stressed.