Greek and foreign officials and analysts have often stressed Greece’s potential role as an important energy hub in speeches, discussions and interventions. Yet for many, their observations seemed more like wishful thinking than something real and tangible. That has changed in recent months and this prospect is no longer in the phase of utopian expectations or even long-term planning.
The news that natural gas will be transported from Revithoussa and the new terminal station in Alexandroupoli to Eastern Europe (Kyiv and Budapest), came to confirm a development of enormous economic and geopolitical significance.
The Trans-Balkan Pipeline (TBP), which was used to carry Russian gas to Eastern Europe via Ukraine, will be utilized in reverse, with the flows traveling from south to north.
It will take targeted interventions and a technical infrastructural upgrade to ensure that the mechanism works without a hitch, but the experts have concluded that this is the safest and most affordable option. And this is why plans are moving from the drawing board to the execution phase.
Revithoussa already covers the bulk of Bulgaria’s natural gas needs and also supplies Romania, while Ukraine has also been included in the plan once the addition of a new floating storage unit is completed, something that is expected to happen as soon as within July.
The technical details are best left to the experts, but the political significance is more than clear: With large quantities of gas being transported via Greece’s supply system, the country immediately becomes an important contributor to the overall effort to reduce reliance on Russian energy.
With the active support of the European Union, but also of the United States, whose energy plans are well served by the upgrade and utilization of the Greek gas transportation system, Greece becomes a key part of the “alternative solution” for covering Europe’s energy needs.