Greece is becoming a European hub for liquefied natural gas (LNG) as demand surges in the aftermath of Ukraine's conflict, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said an international LNG conference in Athens on Wednesday.
Mitsotakis discussed the new infrastructure that has been adopted or is being built to allow for an increase in natural gas exports.
Major LNG-related projects are now under construction, expanding, or being proposed in five places throughout Greece. These projects might more than increase the country's capacity to accommodate LNG supplies from around the world within the next two years.
The projects, two near Alexandroupolis in northern Greece, one near Volos in central Greece, and two near Athens, come as Europe rapidly expands LNG imports to replace Russian natural gas.
According to European Commission data, the European Union has imported 100 billion cubic metres (bcm) of LNG so far this year, a more than 60% increase over last year and an all-time high.
“The crisis is changing the energy map of Europe and Greece is at the forefront of this change,” Mitsotakis said at the conference.
He also mentioned that Greece is involved in the TAP pipeline, which distributes natural gas from Azerbaijan to Europe via Greece, as well as the recently launched Greek-Bulgarian natural gas pipeline.
“In a few years, we may have 2, 3 or even 4 floating LNG stations. We want to help our neighbours to diversify their energy supplies and to improve the stability associated with energy security,” he stated.
Finally, he stated that Europe, as Greece is doing, should pursue the exploration of hydrocarbon deposits in order to assure energy supply at a reasonable cost while not jeopardising the transition to a green economy.
“We need innovative solutions to ensure energy security now, without undermining the path to decarbonization,” the prime minister concluded.
Revithoussa is Greece's only functioning LNG terminal.
Greece's sole operational LNG regasification and storage station on the Revithoussa islet off the coast of Athens has been critical in the country's strategy to wean itself off Russian gas and increase supply security ahead of winter.
Due to increased supply from other sources to the Revithoussa facility, which is 5 miles (40 km) from Athens and can store 225,000 cubic metres of gas and regasify 1,400 cubic metres per hour, the country has already cut Russian gas imports by more than half this year.
In Greece, new floating storage and regasification units (FSRUs) are planned at:
Gastrade, which is controlled by the Copelouzos family in Greece, is creating an FSRU that will be anchored about 18 kilometres off the northern Greek port of Alexandroupolis and will transport gas to shore through a 28-kilometer-long pipeline. Once operational by the end of 2023, it is expected to transport gas to Bulgaria and further north.
Gastrade has stated that it is investigating the building of a second FSRU off the coast of Alexandroupolis.
Mediterranean Gas intends to construct an FSRU off the coast of Volos in central Greece. It has requested LNG producers, traders, large-scale consumers, industrial users, and marine and transportation businesses to make non-binding reservations interest by December 19.
The project, which would have a 5.2 billion cubic metre annual regasification capacity, will transport gas to North Macedonia, Bulgaria, Romania, Albania, Italy, and the rest of Europe.
It plans to go commercial in the second quarter of 2023.
Dioriga Gas, a subsidiary of Greek refiner Motor Oil, is to begin building of an FSRU plant near Athens in the fourth quarter of this year.
It will have a capacity of up to 210,000 cubic metres of gas, which will be regasified and exported via Greece's gas infrastructure or marketed as LNG via tankers and trucks.
Elpedison, a joint venture between Italy's Edison and Helleniq Energy, hopes to construct an FSRU off the coast of Thessaloniki, Greece's second-largest city, by 2025.
It will be able to store 170,000 cubic metres of gas and deliver up to 20 million cubic metres per day.
By fLEXI tEAM