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Greece reiterates natural gas sufficiency, while drafting contingency plan

European countries are putting plans in place to manage gas supply and even ration power in case Russian gas flows stop completely or a planned outage at the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, starting on July 11, is extended beyond July 21. Greece reiterates its sufficiency in natural gs and at the same time it drafts contingency plan for the day after in the event Moscow turns the tap off.

Under its contingency plan, Greece, which uses gas mainly for power generation, would get additional quantities of LNG and switch four gas-fired plants to diesel. It will also ramp up coal mining in the next two years as a temporary measure.

“Greece faces one of the smallest risks in all of Europe in terms of supply adequacy,” Energy Minister Skrekas said on Monday, however, this presupposes the availability of LNG cargoes.

The uncertainty caused by the closure of the northern Nord Stream 1 pipeline had to be taken into account, minister Skreakas told state broadcaster ERT on Monday.. If the operation resumes after ten days of maintenance, the price of natural gas will fall, but if it is instrumentalized by the Russian president, then Europe will be threatened, he underlined.

He added that the national contingency intervention plan has two axes, adequacy and affordable prices, the minister said and summarized the Greek government’s measures as:

  • In order to replace the natural gas which by 40-50% comes from Russia, there is a provision for the transport of liquefied LNG in record time with two ships at the same time to the Revythoussa facilities.
  • More liquefied natural gas could be flown back through the TAP pipeline from Italy which already has processes in place to store a large amount.
  • The use of more diesel and the “return to lignite.”

The Minister said that “in the last three years, the Greek government managed with 5,000 megawatts of new renewable energy sources to save imports of more than 1.7 billion in natural gas.”

He added that “electricity generation from lignite is cheaper today but not if prices of natural gas fall, as it is burdened by the carbon tax.”

Around 40% of Greece’s needs are met by Russian Gazprom. If it lacks these quantities, which are primarily used to generate electricity, it may make up for them by building more lignite-fired power plants and shipping more liquefied natural gas (LNG), reported daily kathimerini.

In the first half of the year, out of the 30 terawatt-hours, around 20.5 were used by power plants, 8 by homeowners for heating and 1.5 by industry. This basically implies that there is limited room to cut back on gas use.

There is no fuel combination that can supply all of the nation’s electricity needs without gas. Simply put, Greece won’t have electricity if there isn’t enough gas available.

A precondition for the effectiveness of the Greek plan which foresees more lignite (brown coal) production, and more plants, is that LNG is available on the international market for Greek companies to buy.

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