Samaras: Greece to be Energy Hub

AZERBAIJAN – By participating in large-scale projects like the Southern Gas Corridor gas pipeline, “Greece improves its positioning and enhances its role in the international energy scene, becoming a ‘hub’ for Southeast Europe, as well as continental Europe,” Prime Minister Antonis Samaras said on Saturday in Azerbaijan.

Samaras addressed an international event marking the 20th anniversary of the Shah Deniz natural gas field agreements and the beginning of drilling for the Southern Corridor pipeline network. The events are also being attended by delegations from Turkey, Italy, Albania, Bulgaria, Montenegro, Croatia and UK.

The premier reviewed Greece’s progress in energy diversity, saying that Greece was expanding storage capacity at its LNG terminal in Revithoussa by 73% to 225,000 cubic metres, upgrading gasification speed by 40% and improving the country’s ports infrastructure. He also announced that “a second LNG terminal in northern Greece is also in the pipeline for the coming years.”

Also, he said, the 2nd International round of Concessions was under way, consisting of 20 blocks in the Ionian and Cretan Seas, while the contracts for the concession of 3 more blocks were recently concluded.

Speaking of the Southern Gas Corridor, Samaras lauded the project as “a factor of long-term stability, peace and global cooperation,” and one which Greece supported from the beginning.

“It is a vision of long-term cooperation among the countries and the people of such an extended region; indeed a model of global cooperation based on competitive prices which generate growth and promote environmental sustainability,” he said.

Natural gas will be transported from the Shah Deniz field in the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), which will pass Turkey, Greece and Albania to Italy; also being considered are links to other countries in the Balkan region through a vertical Greek-Bulgarian pipeline (IGB).

The TAP pipeline will have an initial transport ability of 10 billion cubic metres of gas annually, with the investment in the Greek part of the pipeline (with a length of 870 klm) totalling 1.5 billion euros. The project will create 2,000 direct and 10,000 indirect job positions. TAP’s shareholders are BP (20 pct), Socar (20 pct), Statoil (20 pct), Fluxys (16 pct), Total (10 pct), E.ON (9.0 pct) and Axpo (5.0 pct).