Natural gas cost expected to drop by 20 pct in 2015, deputy minister says

The price of natural gas in Greece, used by industries and consumers for heating their homes, is expected to drop by as much as 20 percent in 2015, Deputy Energy Minister Makis Papageorgiou told a conference on Tuesday.

Papagerorgiou said the drop was expected as a result of the reduction in the price of crude oil, on which natural gas has been pegged, and is expected to reach 5 percent in January, declining further to 20 percent below current prices by March.

The significant reduction is also due to a deal reached earlier in the year between Greece and Russian supplier Gazprom for a 15-percent discount to Greek natural gas consumers.

Papageorgiou further estimated that natural gas costs will continue to drop on the back of plummeting oil prices, which international analysts say could reach $40 a barrel. He also said the government will examine ways to maintain natural gases prices at their reduced levels throughout 2015.