As earlier described, don’t count Greece out of the picture, as they are much too critical for the German dominated EU to lose. Germany needs energy independence from Russia and needs to keep the EU in tact as a whole, otherwise a broken up European continent would not provide the solidarity needed to stand up to the Soviets. Without one, or both, Germany would otherwise remain a stagnant useless nation plagued with external and internal security issues. Greece will become a major, if not the major, energy transit hub for all of Europe. China also once hailed Greece as the “gateway to Europe”.
Amid the hard times Greece is going through, the assertion that it is turning into an important regional player in the natural gas scene is not an exaggeration. Its geostrategic location on the map offers a number of advantages, which can translate to an economic competitive advantage, as well as to an upgrade of its geopolitical role in South-East Europe.
Firstly, Greece’s role in the international chessboard of pipelines becomes critical. The selection of the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) as the avenue for EU’s Southern Energy Corridor, as well as the pending project for the Greece-Italy Poseidon (IGI) pipeline with the participation of DEPA, is decisive; not only will it support local economies during the construction phase, but also ‘locks’ this particular route through Greece as the main entrance hub of Azeri gas to Europe.
The development of this pipeline network will undoubtedly enhance the energy security for the whole region of South-East Europe, rendering Greece as an integral link of this process. The plan by the Greek natural gas system operator DESFA to construct a third gas storage facility in Revythousa could add an extra 95.000 cm, raising the system’s overall storage capacity by 73%. The storage capacity could be further boosted with the proposed project by the Greek oil company Energean SA to turn a depleted oil field in the area of Kavala in Northern Greece into an underground storage facility with an estimated capacity of 1 bcm.
Furthermore, the import of gas from alternative supply sources could be increased substantially from the DEPA-planned Floating Storage Regasification Unit (FSRU) in the area of Kavala, which can bring in the equation another 150.000 cm of storage capacity, as well as the potential of pumping up to 5 bcma into the system. This project, in a potential synergy with a similar project proposed by the Greek company Gastrade SA in the region of Alexandroupolis, is critical in turning Greece in an emergent gas trade hub in the region.
Another factor to be considered is the important synergies with the maritime industry for the import and export of liquefied natural gas (LNG). Interestingly, natural gas could be also used as fuel for the ships, especially in the light of the recent EU proposals on fighting pollution caused by ships, including the Mediterranean Sea.
The orientation of the Greek government to implement structural reforms and open up the energy market and thus enhance competition across the value chain, from energy generation to supply, as well as the attraction of foreign investments directed to energy infrastructure, could lay the foundation for the emergence of Greece as a strategic entrance and trade hub of natural gas in South-East Europe.
Full article: The Role of Greece in the Geostrategic Chessboard of Natural Gas (Natural Gas Europe)