ECONOMY

Undersea reservoir to store gas

Aegean Energy, Greece’s only gas and oil exploration company, plans to turn an empty undersea reservoir into Greece’s largest natural gas storage facility. In a project worth 400 million euros, Aegean Energy has put forth a plan to pump gas compressed at its facilities in Kavala, northern Greece, down a 36-kilometer undersea pipeline into a depleted natural gas reserve. The gas can then be retrieved from the reservoir, located 2 kilometers under the seabed, just like it would from an above-ground storage unit. «We can have this operating within the next year and a half. It will utilize existing infrastructure,» Mathios Rigas, Aegean Energy’s chairman, told Kathimerini English Edition on the sidelines of a conference in Athens yesterday. Aegean Energy operates offshore oil and natural gas drilling operations in Greece in the Primos, North Primos, Epsilon and South Kavala fields, located west of the island of Thassos. Its onshore infrastructure in the area includes a gas treatment and recycling plant, crude oil storage tanks and jetty and offshore loading facilities. Rigas said the undersea gas reservoir will be able to store 1 billion cubic meters, enough to cover half of Greece’s natural gas needs for 90 days. The country’s other natural gas storage unit, belonging to grid operator DESFA, is located on the island of Revythousa, near Athens, and covers Greece’s needs for six days, according to some estimates. «This [conversion project] is not just important for us but also for countries such as Bulgaria,» added Rigas, referring to natural gas supplies which were cut to the Balkan country early last year during a dispute between Russia and Ukraine. Looking ahead, Aegean Energy, which expects to start drilling its first well in Egypt in September, sees revenues this year rising to around 80 million euros, depending on the price of oil, from just below 30 million euros last year. [email protected]