A financially and strategically crucial plan which foresees the construction of a liquefied natural gas (LNG) station off the coast of Alexandroupoli in Thrace has come a step closer according to a statement by the Public Gas Corporation (DEPA), with Energy Minister Panos Skourletis highlighting the significance of the project at the Athens Energy Forum 2016 on Tuesday.
On Monday DEPA and Gastrade, a member of the Copelouzos Group, held a meeting on the plan, during which “the strong interest of DEPA in the Alexandroupoli project was confirmed,” according to a statement from DEPA. The two sides discussed the next steps for the creation of an appropriate corporate entity for the construction and operation of the LNG terminal.
Licensed since 2011, the offshore terminal at Alexandroupoli has been proposed by Athens to the European Commission for its inclusion among subsidized projects of European interest.
The Greek government appears to back the project, which in combination with the realization of the Interconnector Greece-Bulgaria gas pipeline (IGB) is seen as driving the country’s hopes to become a junction for the transmission of gas to Bulgaria and on to Serbia, Romania and even Ukraine. This strategic planning is also supported by the US, which views the Balkans as a significant destination for its own gas exports, as well as by the European Union, which supports any plan which would reduce its dependence on Russian gas.
US firm Cheniere has openly expressed its interest in the Alexandroupoli terminal, also appearing inclined to participate in the ownership of the project provided there are contracts involved for the acquisition of LNG quantities that will reach Alexandroupoli and then transmitted to the neighboring markets via the IGB.
Skourletis stressed the significance of the new LNG terminal project at Alexandroupoli, dubbing it “strategic” during his speech at the energy forum that opened on Tuesday in Athens and concludes on Wednesday, co-hosted by Kathimerini and the International New York Times.