Greece's Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis speaks during a ceremony at the port of Alexandroupolis, northern Greece, Tuesday, May 3, 2022. (Dimitris Papamitsos/Greek Prime Minister's Office via AP)
ALEXANDROUPOLIS – A liquified natural gas (LNG) terminal being developed in Alexandroupoli in northern Greece will be a critical conduit for energy that will help the European Union and Balkans become less reliant on Russian supplies, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said.
He was speaking at the inauguration of the project in a city that’s a key port and business hub for Greece and said that the floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU) is a “beacon sending a dual message: that with its completion we will soon be able to rid ourselves of gas coming from Russian sources and that our countries are assuming a common role on the new energy map.”
“The Independent Natural Gas System of Alexandroupolis (INGS) is a new energy gateway for Greece, for the Balkans and for the Southeastern Europe as well as a beacon which sends a double signal. First, that with this very important project along with the other projects which are being implemented in Greece, we will be very soon in position to replace the natural gas from Russian sources. In parallel that our countries are ready to assume together a new key role to Europe’s energy map”, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said.
“Moscow’s recent blackmails regarding the natural gas are now making the cooperation not only necessary but, I would say, urgent. Greece is a pioneer and has already taken care for its own national energy sufficiency and is of course willing to assist neighbouring countries as Bulgaria”, the Greek prime minister underlined.
Addressing the President of the European Council Charles Michel, the Prime Ministers of Bulgaria, North Macedonia, Serbia and the US Ambassador, the Greek Prime Minister said that “Your presence here today signals the Balkan countries’ solidarity along with their alignment with Europe because our Peninsula can and have its own position in Europe’s energy transition strategy in order to address together the situation by building fruitful cooperations far away from deadlocked competitions. One very important step towards this direction is Alexandroupolis Independent Natural Gas System”.
“This is not just an energy project. It will change the energy map of Europe,” Bulgarian Prime Minister Kiril Petkov said. “The Balkans is a region of 65 million people, and we can do so much more.”
That was in reference to the EU still needing Russian energy supplies that were exempted from sanctions over the invasion of Ukraine, Greece still dependent on Russia for up to 40 percent of its needs.
The new terminal, slated for launch in December 2023, is expected to bolster Greece’s energy security and enhance its regional strategic role, while also providing an alternative natural gas supply route that does not pass through Turkey and will reduce dependence on Russian gas.
Russia last week cut off natural gas supplies to Bulgaria and Poland over a demand to guarantee payment in rubles, in an escalating dispute triggered by the invasion of Ukraine.
The European Union is racing to secure alternative supplies, placing priority on global LNG imports from countries that include major producers like Algeria, Qatar and the United States.
Also present at the meetings were North Macedonian Premier Dimitar Kovachevski and Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic.
Michel: New LNG station in Alexandroupolis a geopolitical investment
“We will end our dependence on the Russian fossil fuels. This new LNG station is a geopolitical investment. It will help free southeastern Europe from the weaponisation of gas supply by Russia” stated European Council President Charles Michel in a post in Greek on Twitter on Tuesday referring to the official launch of the implementation of the new LNG terminal station off the port city of Alexandroupolis.
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