Big moves in energy

The deregulated energy market is expected to provide for significant alliances among Greek groups as well as the entry of big foreign energy groups, with significant positive results for the economy. On the downside, the government insists on further development of the country’s lignite resources, even though the process of getting electricity from lignite is a highly polluting one. The government argues that lignite provides a cheap source of energy, that new technologies limit pollution and that the continued interest in lignite does not preclude the utilization of renewable energy sources. The tender for the exploitation of a lignite mine in Vevi, northern Greece, whose deadline expired last night, was the first to allow private-sector companies to bid for lignite mining. Until now, Public Power Corporation (PPC), the former electricity production and distribution monopoly, had exclusive access to lignite. For the bid, metals and engineering group Mytilineos announced that it is teaming up with Greece’s biggest construction group, HellenicTechnodomiki-TEV. Other private sector bidders include the Copelouzos Group, also active in natural gas and construction group Terna. PPC also bid. Mytilineos and Hellenic Technodomiki announced that, were they to be awarded the bid, the project would be divided among Hellenic Technodomiki subsidiary Aktor (60 percent) and Mytilineos Group subsidiaries METKA (30 percent) and Mytilineos Energy Production and Trading (10 percent). The two groups also announced that they intend to bid for two more lignite mines, in Thessaly and eastern Macedonia. More significantly, they announced that they are considering a partnership with state-controlled refiner Hellenic Petroleum. The latter announced it is conducting talks with other possible partners. More partnerships are being discussed, this time with foreign firms. Motor Oil, Greece’s other major refiner, is in talks with Spanish group Iberdrola for a joint bid for a combined cycle unit. Iberdrola is already in partnership with Rokas for the development of wind energy.