Greece Plans Extra LNG Imports in Case of Cut in Russian Gas Supplies
Greece is in talks over extra imports of liquefied natural gas from Algeria to avert possible shortages in case of a cut in Russian gas supplies, a senior Greek official has said.
According to the Oxford Institute of Energy Studies, in 2009, when Russia halted gas deliveries to much of Europe through pipelines transiting Ukraine in a price dispute with the Ukrainian government, Greece was able to buy liquefied natural gas (LNG) to make up for the shortfall as well as supply gas to its northern neighbour Bulgaria.
A dispute between Russia and Ukraine over gas prices and unpaid debt for past deliveries is threatening to leave much of central and eastern Europe with little or no Russian gas supplies transiting Ukraine this winter in a repeat of the gas crises of 2006 and 2009 caused by similar disagreements, the European Commission has said.
Preparing for a potential new disruption in Russian gas supplies this winter, Greece’s state-owned gas company DEPA may have to pay USD 150-200 million for additional cargoes of Algerian LNG in December and January, Bloomberg quoted DEPA’s Chairman George Spanoudis as saying earlier this month in London.
“We are preparing for a short crisis, hoping that the crisis will not take place,” Spanoudis has said. “The Algerian contract can be extended through discussions we are having as well, to supply extra vessels of LNG.”
Russia’s Gazprom supplies two-thirds of the natural gas Greece consumes. Unlike Greece, which according to the country’s Energy Minister Yiannis Maniatis is among the best prepared EU member states for a possible disruption of Russian gas supplies in the winter, Bulgaria, which relies on deliveries of Russian gas via a single pipeline via Ukraine to meet nearly 90% of its gas needs, is much more vulnerable to a disruption.
According to Spanoudis, a final investment decision on the construction of an interconnector linking Greece and Bulgaria is expected to be made by the end of the year. The link that would help offset the impact of possible cuts in Russian gas flowing through Ukraine, is projected to carry up to five billion cubic metres of gas a year and become operational in 2017.
The interconnector will link the natural gas network in Komotini, in northern Greece, with the Bulgarian gas ring in Stara Zagora through a 170km pipeline.
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