Friday, February 23, 2018

"Through Greece: A Path To European Energy Security 2.0" - Op-Ed By Dean Plassaras (cont'd)

Having brought to the attention of the readers of this blog three energy projects worthy of observation, I now wish to complete the task and bring to conclusion the Pentalogy of energy projects in Greece which are worthy of deep and somewhat quiet observation/reflection. The reflection part pertains to the fact that perhaps Greece, in addition to the tourism and merchant marine pillars of her economy, perhaps has found a new pillar called energy.

For it is my conviction that perhaps 50 years from now and at a time when we all have departed this hospitable earth, which most days resembles a warm and full of understanding "Observing Greece" blog session, there will be no longer a memory of this miserable crisis which befell Greece due to the deep shortcomings of its so-called "partners" in the European community (I am sure the word community is some form of cruel euphemism the deep irony of which we could no longer escape). Instead, our generation (and I am speaking of the Greek side now) will be remembered as the generation which adopted our Exclusive Economic Zone and freed up the forces which propelled Greece into a level of new prosperity based among other things on matters of energy. It's a modest "Eureka moment" which underscores that maybe we found a new area of energy competitiveness for the Greek economy, dependable and worthy of building upon.

So here are two more projects, in a more advanced stage of implementation than the trilogy presented last week, which I believe set up a nice observation framework for the future. And they are:

1) "Gas Interconnector Greece-Bulgaria Pipeline (IGB)" which is a pivotal infrastructure to connect the Greek and Bulgarian gas networks, enhancing South-East Europe's (SEE) security of supply and allowing imports from various sources. The IGB project is being developed by ICGB AD, a 50-50 joint venture between IGI Poseidon SA and Bulgarian Energy Holding.

The IGB will have an initial transportation capacity of 3 Bcm/y (billion cubic meters per year) from Greece to Bulgaria that could be upgraded up to 5Bcm/y at a later stage, in response to the market demand. The IGB Pipeline will also be equipped in order to offer physical and/or commercial reverse flow.

European support: In 2015, with the support of the Bulgarian and Greek Governments and as a result of the benefits that the project brings to Europe, the IGB pipeline has been confirmed as Project of Common Interest (PCI), being included by the EU Commission in the second PCI list among the Southern Gas Corridor projects. In addition, IGB has been identified as a priority project of the EU's Central and South-Eastern European Gas Connectivity (CESEC) initiative which aims to support and accelerate the development of strategic infrastructure.

The IGB project has also been included in the last Ten Years Development Plan (TYNDP), in line with the objective of the European Network Transportation System Operators of Gas (ENTSOG) to create a single European market for gas and a reliable and safe transmission network capable of meeting Europe's current and future needs.

The project has been awarded in 2010 with European grants for up to 45 million euro, through the European Economic Recovery Plan (EERP) for the performance of the FEED (Front-End-Engineering-Design) and for pipeline manufacturing and installation.

Development status: The IGB project has obtained the Installation Act in Greece, the approval of the technical design in Bulgaria and the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) was approved by both competent Ministries of the two countries. The final construction permits are therefore under completion.

In December 2015, the IGB's Final Investment Decision (FID) was taken by ICGB Shareholders. Construction is scheduled to start during the 1st quarter of 2018 and the Commercial Operation Date (COD) is envisaged in 2020.

More information about the IGB pipeline can be found on the ICGB website:

And, finally, last but not least:

2) "Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP)" which will transport Caspian natural gas to Europe. Connecting with the Trans Anatolian Pipeline (TANAP) at the Greek-Turkish border, TAP will cross Northern Greece, Albania and the Adriatic Sea before coming ashore in Southern Italy to connect to the Italian natural gas network.

The project is currently in its construction phase, which started in 2016 and about 70% complete.
Once built, TAP will offer a direct and cost-effective transportation route opening up the vital Southern Gas Corridor, a 3500-kilometer long gas value chain stretching from the Caspian Sea to Europe.

In fact, TAP has received the largest ever EU Bank loan (a rare affirmation of EU interest in this project)

Thanks again for allowing the space for this presentation and I wish you all the best. And please remember the Pentalogy of these Greek energy projects is based on conveyance systems and not "treasure hunts for new riches".

Dean Plassaras


  1. For those interested in the overall energy picture of Greece, please also note the 660MW lignite produced electricity station known as Ptolemaida V, currently under construction:


  2. Also this article will sketch the basics of the energy deficit Greece faces in the electric connectivity of its islands:


  3. Energy is one of the most promising investment sectors for Greece: