Greece establishes role as energy hub for Southeast Europe
Greece’s role as an energy hub for Southeast Europe marked another milestone this month as it inaugurated a new natural gas pipeline to Bulgaria, the first in a series of major infrastructure projects that will dramatically enhance energy security in the region.
In a special ceremony in the northern Greek town of Komotini, Prime Ministers Kyriakos Mitsotakis of Greece and Kiril Petkov of Bulgaria symbolically opened the new Interconnector Greece Bulgaria. The 182 km, €249 million pipeline will allow Bulgaria to tap natural gas supplies from Greece and drastically reduce its heavy dependence on Russian natural gas.
“The pipeline, along with the other energy infrastructure projects that are underway, and together with the interconnections with North Macedonia, with Italy, constitutes a reliable natural gas distribution network for the markets,” said Mr. Mitsotakis. “They thus enhance the energy security, the security of supply, for all the associated countries.”
From the newly operational Trans Adriatic Pipeline to the newly inaugurated IGB, Greece is at the center of a growing, European Union-supported network of natural gas pipelines stretching from the Caspian Sea to Central Europe. That network will be further enhanced by a future East Med pipeline from the Eastern Mediterranean to Greece, the planned IGI Poseidon pipeline linking Greece and Italy, and a special interconnector between Greece and its neighbor, Northern Macedonia.
At the same time, new investments in at least four planned or operating liquefied natural gas terminals – as well as a special natural gas storage facility – mean that Greece is also becoming a gateway for gas imports from around the world. New storage capacity has recently been added at Greece’s main LNG facility on Revithoussa Island near Athens, and by the end of next year a new LNG facility is expected to be completed in the northern town of Alexandroupolis. At least two more LNG facilities are now being planned – a further facility in northern Greece and another in the central Greek town of Volos.