In a period of energy turmoil and geostrategic upheaval, due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Athens continues to add pieces to the big picture puzzle related to the country’s energy shielding. In this context, another dual-targeted move came to the fore recently. And this move is none other than the construction of the floating LNG terminal in Alexandroupolis, the implementation of which will play a decisive role in the energy security of the country, the wider Balkan region and the whole of South-East Europe as well as it will be another step in the transformation of Greece into an energy hub.
In May 3rd, the Prime Minister of Greece, Konstantinos Mitsotakis, arrived in the capital of Evros, as well as the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, the President of Serbia, Aleksandar Vucic, the Prime Minister of Bulgaria, Kiril Petkov and the Prime Minister of North Macedonia, Dimitar Kovacev. Such presences were proof that the implementation of the LNG terminal in Alexandroupolis is of high importance, not only for our region, but also for the European Union.
The floating LNG terminal, scheduled for completion in 2023, will be the new energy gateway for Greece, the Balkans and South-Eastern Europe. At the same time:
-It will further enhance energy security and energy independence.
-It will offer the possibility of diversifying the region’s sources and supply routes for natural gas.
-It will boost regional cooperation, as the project involves virtually all the Balkan countries.
– It will help achieve the European Union’s objective of phasing out its dependence on Russian gas as soon as possible, as decided by the European Council in March.
– It will provide new sources and supply routes for natural gas and enhance security of supply in Greece, Bulgaria and other countries in the region.
The construction and operation of the Alexandroupolis Floating Storage and Gasification Unit (FSRU) has been entrusted to GASTRADE S.A., a public utility company that aims to develop, operate, exploit and manage natural gas systems.
The Alexandroupolis Independent Natural Gas System project is a modern, innovative and high-tech project consisting of an offshore floating LNG receiving, storage and gasification unit and a subsea and onshore pipeline system through which the gas is transported to the National Natural Gas Transmission System of Greece and from there to the final consumers.
The Alexandroupolis LNG has also the potential to connect and supply gas to other downstream gas transmission systems planned to be developed in the future such as the TAP (Trans Adriatic Pipeline).
The Alexandroupolis terminal aims to create a fourth gas import gateway to our country, with a capacity to supply up to 700,000 cubic meters per hour or 6.1 billion cubic meters of natural gas on an annual basis. It is indicative that in our country consumption is six billion cubic metres, in Bulgaria 3.5 billion cubic metres and in Romania 11 million cubic metres. At the same time, it will secure new quantities of natural gas for the supply of the Greek and the regional market of South-Eastern Europe, contributing to the expansion of sources and supply routes of natural gas, the promotion of competition for the benefit of the final consumer, the security of supply of Greece and the Balkan countries, as well as the improvement of the reliability and flexibility of the National Gas System.
The provisions of national and European legislation applicable to the project in question are:
Law 4001/2011 “For the operation of the Energy Markets for Electricity and Natural Gas, for Exploration, Production and Transmission Networks of Hydrocarbons and other regulations”
Law 4014/2011 “Environmental licensing of projects and activities, regulation of unauthorized activities in connection with the creation of an environmental balance and other provisions under the responsibility of the Ministry of Environment”.
Law 2971/2001 “Beach, and other provisions”
Law 3982/2011 “Simplification of the licensing of technical professional and manufacturing activities and business parks and other provisions”
Law 4277/2014, No.45 “New Regulatory Plan of Athens-Attica and other provisions”
Ministerial Decision No. 26510/2012 Technical Regulation “Natural Gas Transmission Systems with Maximum Operating Pressure above 16bar”
Ministerial Decision No. 12044/613/2007 “Determination of measures and conditions for dealing with the risks of major accidents in installations or units due to the presence of dangerous substances, in compliance with the provisions of Directive 2003/105/EC (SEVESO II)”
Regulatory framework of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO)
Directive 96/61/EC “On pollution prevention and control and on the application of Best Available Techniques”.
Regulation 347/2013 “On guidelines for trans-European energy infrastructure”
Regulation 1316/2013 “Connecting Europe”
In February 2022, the Management Code of the Alexandroupolis project was approved by the Energy Regulatory Authority (Government Gazette B’ 893/25.02.2022 “Approval of the Management Code of the Terminal Station “Independent Natural Gas System of Alexandroupolis”) together with its Annexes.
It goes without saying that this project makes Greece a focus of energy and investment interest, as it is a project that requires the excellent cooperation of various stakeholders with vision.
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Athens, May 2022