ATHENS – Reliant on Russia for 40 percent of its gas, Greece’s New Democracy government said it could withstand that source being cut off in response to European Union sanctions for the invasion of Ukraine.
Greece may be able to indefinitely avoid gas supply problems, even if Russia halts flows of the fuel, Energy Minister Kostas Skrekas said, with the next payment to Gazprom coming due April 20.
While the EU said it wouldn’t bar using Russian energy as part of the sanctions and exempted two Russian banks who deal in the sector, President Vladimir Putin threatened to stop the supplies unless being paid in roubles.
Skrekas told SKAI TV that a contingency plan could keep Greece supplied as Ukraine asked the EU to stop buying Russian energy to cut off funds for the military during the invasion.
Greece, which uses gas mainly for power generation, would get additional quantities of liquefied gas and switch four gas-fired electricity plants to diesel, he said. It might also ramp up Azeri gas purchases, said Reuters.
Spare coal-fired generating capacity can also be activated although the New Democracy government was trying to wean off coal and toward more sustainable and green energy sources.
“With all these, and if there are available gas quantities in world markets, … there will be no time limit in terms of security of supplies,” said Skrekas.