Greece still a thirsty oil consumer

Greece remains a country that is highly dependent on oil, to a far greater extent than any other EU country, as shown by official Development Ministry data on the country’s energy needs. Net oil imports in Greece account for 65.2 percent of gross energy consumption, compared to a eurozone average of 44 percent and just 32.9 percent in the EU-15. As much as 57 percent of energy demand in Greece is met by oil consumption. According to Eurostat data, energy consumption in Greece per real GDP unit remained unchanged between 1991 and 2002, while a drop of 15 percent and 9 percent was recorded during the same period in the EU-15 and eurozone respectively. Currently, the energy efficiency index in Greece is at 66.1 percent against the European average of 71.3 percent, which ranks Greece in the fourth-to-last position. Natural gas was first introduced in 1995 and renewable energy sources began to be measured as electricity generation sources in the late 1990s. The transport industry in 2005 represented 39 percent of final energy consumption, having risen 37 percent compared to 1990 levels. Also in 2005, the overall consumption by the tertiary, household, state and private sectors stood at 41 percent, compared to 32 percent in 1990. The industry in recent years has been a more stable energy consumer, with 4.1 metric tons of oil equivalent (Mtoe) in 2005, or up 0.2 Mtoe (5 percent) compared to 1990. Crude and oil products are imported into Greece primarily from Russia (32.3 percent), followed by Saudi Arabia (31.1 percent) and Iran (28.6 percent). At the same time, however, significant exports of oil products are made to the USA, Turkey, Libya and Syria. In 2005, total oil product exports rose to 4.8 million tons. As far as natural gas is concerned, overall demand is met by imports from Russia (85 percent) via Bulgaria, and by liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Algeria (15 percent). In 2005 and 2006, natural gas imports totaled 2.8 billion cubic meters and 3.1 billion m3,