Greek FSRU Project Gets New Investor
LNG shipowner GasLog said December 22 it has agreed to buy a 20% stake in Gastrade, owned by Greek conglomerate Copelouzos.
The Gastrade project is still at a preliminary stage, although Gaslog says it is licensed to develop a privately-owned floating LNG import unit offshore Alexandroupolis in northern Greece, using a floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU) and other fixed infrastructure.
Gaslog CEO Paul Wogan said: “The FSRU will be used as a gateway for LNG imports into Southern Europe, where there is a growing demand and a need to diversify existing gas supply."
Prometheus Gas, a leading privately-owned gas supplier to Greece founded in 1991, is 50-50 owned by Copelouzos group’s main owner Dimitris Copelouzos and Russia’s Gazprom Export. The main gas supplier in Greece though remains Depa.
Monaco-based Gaslog said that Gastrade is currently in discussions with a number of additional potential investors, including the two state-owned energy suppliers Greece’s Depa and Bulgarian Energy Holding (BEH). It added that other large investors have expressed an intention to participate in owning and developing the terminal, and that others have expressed interest in supplying LNG to it.
A front-end engineering and design (Feed) study is expected to be part-funded by an EU grant and begin early in 2017 while Gastrade intends to take a final investment decision (FID) by end 2017 and have the FSRU operational by end-2019, added Gaslog in its statement.
Map of planned IGB pipeline project (Map credit: IGB)
The LNG terminal project, along with the Interconnector Greece-Bulgaria (IGB) pipeline project that would flow to Bulgaria (the opposite flow direction to an existing pipe carrying Russian gas south into Greece). are both designated as EU Projects of Common Interest (PCIs). Both are seen as complementary, as LNG imported at Alexandroupoulis could be fed into IGB and help diversify Bulgaria's gas sourcing - currently dominated by Russian gas. Gastrade is one of about nine firms to have already expressed interest in booking capacity in the IGB line.
IGB's 50-50% shareholders, Bulgarian Energy Holding and IGI Poseidon, took the FID on constructing the pipeline on December 10. Construction is expected to last until mid-2018 when it's hoped that commercial operation will begin.
Gaslog’s fully-owned fleet includes 13 LNG carriers in operation and five more on order, but its statement did not indicate if any of the latter might be converted to an FSRU for Greece, or whether instead it is contemplating a newbuild order if a FID is taken by Gastrade.