The official launch of a new floating storage regasification unit (FSRU) at Alexandroupoli was held yesterday, marking an important milestone not only for Greece’s role as a regional energy hub, but also for the Balkans.
The launch took place in the presence of the prime ministers of Greece, Bulgaria and North Macedonia, and the president of Serbia, along with the energy ministers of all four countries.
“The new LNG terminal is an energy gateway for Greece and the Balkans, for Southeastern Europe, but also a beacon that sends a dual signal. First, with this very important project, as well as with the other projects that are being launched in our country, very soon we will be able to substitute the natural gas coming from Russian sources. At the same time, (we sent the message that) our countries are all ready to undertake a crucial, new role in Europe’s new energy map”, pointed out Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis in his speech at the ceremony for the launch of works of the floating unit for the storage and regasification of LNG off Alexandroupolis.
“Your presence here today, as well as the presence of all the Balkan friends, symbolizes in an absolute way the European dimension of this very important development project. A project that helps the economies of all our countries, a project with a significant geopolitical footprint, a project that – due to the turn of events and international circumstances as well as the violent Russian invasion of Ukraine – acquires a special geopolitical significance in this world which is changing at such a rapid pace,” stressed the Prime Minister, in the presence of the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, the Prime Minister of Bulgaria Kiril Petkov, the President of Serbia Aleksandar Vucic and the Prime Minister of North Macedonia Dimitar Kovachevski.
“The recent blackmail by Moscow concerning natural gas renders this cooperation not just necessary but – I would say – also urgent. Greece stands on the front line. It has already ensured its own energy efficiency and is of course willing to assist neighboring countries like Bulgaria,” pointed out Kyriakos Mitsotakis and referred to the whole spectrum of projects that are under construction and concern the LNG.
“This project complements a series of investments that turn Greece into an important energy hub: a new station is added in Corinth, with the capacity to extend the existing FSRU in the future. All this means that within the next 20 months Greece will be able to receive significant, really increased quantities of LNG. Its overall gasification capacity will rise to 58.5 million cubic meters (per day),” said the Prime Minister.
“These Greek LNG stations are able to fully cover not just the national market, but also substitute a major part of the natural gas provided by Russia in the Balkans. And in combination, of course, with the upgrade of some pipelines and the operation of the interconnectors, the IGB – which is so important for Bulgaria and we have worked so much with my friend the Prime Minister of Bulgaria, in order to accelerate the completion of this pipeline as much as possible, and of course the IBS pipeline, between Bulgaria – Serbia, and the pipeline between Greece and North Macedonia,” said Kyriakos Mitsotakis.
Charles Michel: It’s a geopolitical investment in a crucial geopolitical moment
“I firmly believe we are seeing a new dawn for European energy independence. And we see clear evidence of that new future here today in this city, with this new energy terminal. This is a very straight and a very positive step for our common political project because it will help to diversify our gas supply. It will help to bolster our energy infrastructure and to phase out our dependence on Russian fossil fuels, which will make us stronger and more secure. And this project clearly contributes to the EU security of energy supply and also to our long-term climate change goals,” pointed out the President of the European Council Charles Michel.
“It’s a geopolitical investment and this is a geopolitical moment and it reflects what we need to do more of because it will provide supply to Greece, to Bulgaria, North Macedonia, Serbia and other countries in the region,” stated President of the European Council Charles Michel.
Kiril Petkov: When all strategic infrastructure projects in the region interconnect, we will be able to achieve much more.
“This is a historic day for Greece and Bulgaria and it is associated with the objective which is the independence in the sector of energy,” said in his speech the Prime Minister of Bulgaria Kiril Petkov. “Greece can also help Bulgaria in this very critical moment. When all strategic infrastructure projects in the region interconnect, interconnections in the natural gas, the energy, the pipelines, road infrastructure and railways, and given that the Balkans have 65 million people, together we can achieve much more. We can become an engine for the overall European development,” added the Prime Minister of Bulgaria.
Aleksandar Vucic: We are profoundly grateful and ready to take big quantities of gas
“I believe that some people from Gastrade have already said that there were very few people believing in this project. I was one out of those skeptics that was always saying “Well, it won’t happen or it won’t happen at that time”. “We’ll need ten more years or something like that”. I discussed that with our American friends as well. Now, when I see that it’s all over and ready to start, I can say that we are profoundly grateful and we’ll be ready to take relatively big quantities of gas for the future,” pointed out the President of Serbia Aleksandar Vucic.
Dimitar Kovachevski: What is happening in Alexandroupolis today is a historic event
“What is happening in Alexandroupolis today is a historic event. This project covers the long-term energy needs at a crucial moment. The diversification of energy sources is very important and the south corridor contributes to the independence from Russian gas. In this way, we will be able to secure more sources, from the USA, and the Near East. This will mean security in the energy supply,” mentioned the Prime Minister of North Macedonia among others.
The identity of the project
The LNG temporary storage and gasification station will anchor 17.6 km southwest of the port of Alexandroupolis, at a distance of 10 km from the coast of Makri, (that is) within Greek territorial waters.
The unit will include tanks with a capacity of about 153,500 cubic meters of LNG and is estimated to be able to supply the National Gas Transmission System with approximately 5.5 billion cubic meters of fuel per year.
The unit is scheduled to be operational by the end of 2023.
The offshore station of Alexandroupolis will be connected to the National Transmission System through a 28 km long submarine and overland pipeline.
The budget of the project is 363.7 million euros, which includes funding of 166.7 million euros from the resources of the NSRF 2014-2020.
A project of strategic importance
The floating station will constitute a new energy gateway which upgrades the geopolitical role of Greece in the region and will contribute substantially to the diversification of energy sources and routes for the benefit of our country and the wider Balkans.
In this context, the development of the FSRU off Alexandroupolis is a project of strategic importance for Greece, the Balkans and Southeastern Europe, especially given the European Union’s effort to move away from Russia energy dependency.
In combination with the rest of the network of strategic infrastructures that have been built or are being built in northern Greece, such as the TAP pipeline, the IGB pipeline and the Greece-Northern Macedonia interconnector pipeline, with the FSRU unit in Alexandroupolis, Greece becomes an important regional energy hub that contributes significantly to EU’s energy security.
At the same time, the capacity of LNG storage in Greece will increase, with the addition of another strategic point beyond the Revythousa unit, which currently has a capacity of 225,000 cubic meters of liquefied natural gas.
The Alexandroupolis FSRU constitutes the first step in Greece’s strategic planning to expand LNG reception and storage capabilities, with a clear export orientation. The development of a second station off Alexandroupolis and a floating unit off Corinth are planned, and these are infrastructures that will have the potential to fully meet the needs of the Greek market and to contribute significantly to the energy mix of many Balkan countries.
When they are fully developed, these infrastructures will provide Greece with a gasification capacity of 58.5 million cubic meters of gas per day.
The Vice President and CEO of Gastrade Kostas Sifnaios and the Mayor of Alexandroupolis Ioannis Zampoukis also addressed the event, which was attended by the Minister of Development and Investments Adonis Georgiadis, the Minister of Environment and Energy Kostas Skrekas, the Minister of Shipping and Island Policy Ioannis Plakiotakis, the Deputy Minister for Public Investments and the Growth Pact Yiannis Tsakiris, the Deputy Minister for Macedonia-Thrace Issues Stavros Kalafatis, the Secretary General of Energy and Mineral Resources Alexandra Sdoukou, the Secretary General for International Economic Affairs, of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Chairman of Enterprise Greece Ioannis Smyrlis and the Secretary General for Public Investment and Partnership Agreement Dimitris Skalkos.