ATHENS – Greece’s rush to speed turning to alternative energy sources in the wake of Russian supplies seen being limited – or turned off – will take time but in the meantime it’s relying on increased storage of liquefied natural gas (LNG.)
That’s being stored in the only facility in the country that’s available, on the islet of Evithoussa in the Gulf of Megara west of Athens in an attempt to have enough resources for the winter.
While Russian energy has been exempted from European Union sanctions over the invasion of Ukraine, President Vladimir Putin has indicated he may retaliate by slowing the flow or turning off the tap.
Either way that’s bad news for Greece and the EU which rely on it for up to 40 percent of oil and gas and with doubled electricity prices and supply worries bringing fears of a cold, dark winter.
Greece, noted Reuters in a feature about LNG and the energy crisis, has been receiving Russian gas from the Turkstream pipeline which also delivers to Hungary via Serbia, the Ukraine war no reason to stop it.
The Revithoussa facility is 25 miles from Athens and can store 225,000 cubic meters and regasify 1400 cubic meters per hour, the report said, noting it’s drawing interest from domestic and regional importers.
It’s also crucial for Greece’s energy strategy and plans to boost the security of supplies before the winter sets in, Maria Rita Galli, the Chief Executive of the Greek gas grid operator DESFA told Reuters.
“In the context of the energy crisis, Revithoussa is the import infrastructure, the import terminal that is enabling different sources of supply, different sources of LNG to reach the Greek gas market,” Galli said.
“Already this year, having maximized the use of Revithoussa, we have seen the import of gas from Russia dropping from 40 percent to less than 20 percent,” she added, with cargo arriving at the facility doubling this year.
Speaking at an energy conference in Bucharest, Greek Energy Minister Kostas Skrekas said 2 billion cubic meters were exported to Bulgaria, whose Russian source was cut off for refusing to pay in roubles.
“There is a growing interest. We have many interested parties looking at booking slots in the terminal. In October, we will run the auction for 2023… and we do expect strong interest from national and international players,” she said.
Nearly two-thirds of the 6.5 billion cubic centimeters of gas that Greece consumes annually is used for electricity generation and the prices have doubled or more, requiring the New Democracy government into subsidizing 90 percent of the cost, some 9 billion euros ($8.72 billion.P
In July, DESFA leased a vessel or a so-called floating storage unit (FSU), which is moored close to Revithoussa and can boost its storage capacity by an additional 145,000 cubic meters of gas, if needed, the news agency also said.
The vessel is expected to remain there until the end of 2023, while DESFA is looking into a permanent solution that would involve the purchase of a vessel that could be connected to Revithoussa with a pipeline, Galli said.
“If we didn’t have Revithoussa today, we would be like other central Balkan countries, totally reliant on imports of Russian gas,” also said Galli.