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New Greek LNG project FID slips to late 2018: partner GasLog

The timing of the final investment decision for the planned 6.1 Bcm/yearfloating LNG import facility at Alexandroupolis in northern Greece has slippedto late 2018, one of the project partners said late Friday, as the developerslook to begin commercial operations at the project at the same time as othernew gas import infrastructure.

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Shipping company GasLog, which has a 20% stake in the project operatorGastrade, said the partners now aim to align the Alexandroupolis FSRU projectwith the start-up of the Greece-Bulgaria gas interconnector.

"As a result we are now planning for the Alexandroupolis FSRU start-up in thesecond half of 2020 and consequently expect to take FID in late 2018," GasLogCEO Paul Wogan said following the release of the company's Q4 results.

The most recent guidance was for the FID to be taken in early 2018, which hasbeen pushed back from a previous target of the end of 2017.

Greece, which has one operating LNG import terminal at Revithoussa thatstarted operations in 2000, harbors ambitions to become a regional gas hub.

Gastrade joined forces with Greece's state-controlled gas company DEPA todevelop the Alexandroupolis FLNG plant, while Bulgaria's state-owned BEH isalso interested in taking part.

"The operation and maintenance agreement with Gastrade is nearing finalizationand negotiations with DEPA and BEH regarding equity participation areprogressing well," Wogan said.

"We also continue to see strong interest from potential lenders in the projectincluding EU agencies," he said.

MAJOR SELLERS

The LNG facility is designed to work in tandem with the plannedGreece-Bulgaria gas interconnector (IGB) to bring gas from Azerbaijan tosoutheastern Europe via the TANAP/TAP gas pipeline system.

The FSRU will be connected to the Greek gas transmission system through a 28km pipeline that will allow the transportation of regasified LNG to themarkets of Greece and the wider region, in particular Bulgaria, Romania,Serbia, Macedonia, Hungary and Ukraine.

It has attracted interest from major LNG producers and suppliers, both new andexisting, such as the US, Cyprus, Israel, Qatar and Algeria, as well as fromlarge international LNG traders, according to Gastrade.

With US LNG exports set to ramp up in the coming years, Greece wants toposition itself as a European import center of choice.

In addition to the 5 Bcm/year capacity Revithoussa terminal -- being upgradedto handle an additional 2 Bcm/year -- the new capacity of the floating importterminal at Alexandroupolis of 6 Bcm/year will give Greece a total LNG importcapacity of as much as 13 Bcm/year.

--Stuart Elliott, stuart.elliott@spglobal.com

--Edited by Maurice Geller, maurice.geller@spglobal.com