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Greece's DEPA eyes Egyptian LNG after intergovernmental energy cooperation deal


MOU signed on sidelines of EMGF ministerial meeting

Greece has taken just one Egyptian LNG cargo in 2021

Egypt also signed MOU on Israeli gas re-exports

  • Author
  • Stuart Elliott
  • Editor
  • Jonathan Fox
  • Commodity
  • LNG Natural Gas

Greek gas importer DEPA is eyeing the supply of LNG from Egypt following a memorandum of understanding signed Nov. 25 by the countries' energy ministers in Cairo.

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The MOU -- designed to expand the bilateral cooperation between Greece and Egypt -- was signed by Greek energy minister Kostas Skrekas and his Egyptian counterpart Tarek el-Molla on the sidelines of the sixth ministerial meeting of the East Mediterranean Gas Forum.

"The strategic cooperation between Greece and Egypt creates opportunities for specialized agreements between DEPA Trading and [Egyptian state gas company] EGAS," DEPA said in a statement.

This, it said, would contribute to Greece's ambition to become an energy hub for the southeastern Mediterranean.

Greece has one operating LNG import terminal at Revithoussa, which started operations in 2000 and expanded its capacity in 2018.

However, the government is supporting a second plant at Alexandroupolis as part of efforts to turn Greece into a regional gas hub, with a third import terminal also under development by Greece's Motor Oil.

So far in 2021, Greece has received 28 cargoes of LNG into Revithoussa for a total supply of some 2.1 Bcm of gas, according to data from S&P Global Platts Analytics.

Ten cargoes were received from Algeria under the long-term contract for supply between the two countries, while an additional nine cargoes were imported from the US and six from Qatar.

Just one cargo was taken from Egypt so far this year despite both the Idku and Damietta plants being operational and the short distance between the two countries.

DEPA Commercial CEO Konstantinos Xifaras -- who was in Cairo with Skrekas -- held "constructive contacts" with EGAS for the supply of Egyptian LNG, DEPA said.

"These discussions, on the basis of the MOU, are in line with DEPA Marketing's strategy for the diversification of sources and routes of supply, as well as the energy sufficiency of Greece," it said.

Xifaras added: "Given the strategic importance of natural gas as a bridge fuel to green energy, as well as the pressing needs created by the current energy crisis, DEPA Commercial will take advantage of the opportunities opened by the signing of the MOU between Greece and Egypt."

Israel MOU

As well as the deal with Greece, Egypt's Molla also signed an MOU with Israeli energy minister Karine Elharrar on the sidelines of the EMGF summit.

The MOU, the Egyptian ministry said, is for "the possibility of increasing gas supplies for re-export."

Israel already supplies gas to Egypt from the giant Chevron-operated Leviathan field, which is used both domestically in Egypt and for re-export as LNG.

"This memorandum comes as a result of the fruitful and positive cooperation in the fields of energy during the past years, in addition to the close integration and coordination through the establishment of the EMGF," the ministry said in a statement.

Over the past few months, joint Egyptian-Israeli working groups held several meetings on the possibility of expanding gas supplies for re-export, it said.

Molla also held talks with his Cypriot counterpart Natasa Pilides during the forum, with the bilateral discussion focusing on the supply of gas from Cyprus' Aphrodite field to Egypt.

The EMGF is an intergovernmental organization created in 2019 to promote cooperation in the gas sector.

The EMGF's members as listed on its website are Cyprus, Egypt, France, Greece, Israel, Italy, Jordan and Palestine. Observers to the forum comprise the US, the EU and the World Bank.