Saturday, 21 September 2019
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Energy Diplomacy

Taking into consideration the worldwide interest for energy policy issues in the 21st century and keeping in mind that natural gas and oil transport networks are key priorities of our country's foreign policy, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Hellenic Republic actively engages with international energy issues, acknowledging the energy sector as a tool for development with high added value for our country. Simultaneously, in synergy with other competent Authorities, especially the Ministry of Environment and Energy, proves to be strong as all Ministries have the same underlying goal. At the same vein, it monitors closely relevant issues which are under discussion in the context of international and regional energy organizations, where decisions are made for the future of global and European energy.

Greece emerges as a viable and credible transit country to European markets by embracing more energy sources and routes. The main goal of Greece’s energy policy is to maximize energy security through multiple and alternative cost efficient and competitive energy interconnections. Emphasis is placed on developments in the fields of oil and natural gas pipelines, liquefied gas, storage facilities, electric power grids, and relevant energy developments within the European Union.

As the energy map of south-east Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean changes dramatically, Greece emerges as one of the most important pillars of peace, security, and stability in the region. In the context of Greece’s multidimensional and proactive foreign policy in recent years, Greece and Cyprus have shaped trilateral cooperation schemes in the Eastern Mediterranean with Egypt and Israel. Energy cooperation was, and still is, a key issue, with particular view to the promotion of several energy projects, such as "EuroAsia Interconnector" and "EastMed Pipeline" with Israel, as well as “EuroAfrica Interconnector” with Egypt.

In the natural gas sector, Greece aspires to emerge as a transit hub (natural gas pipelines, LNG terminals). The Southern Corridor is of primary importance, as it is a major component of the EU’s energy policy, thus contributing to strengthening the security and flexibility of its energy supply. The Southern Corridor includes the South Caucasus Pipeline (SCP), the Trans-Anatolian Pipeline (TANAP), and the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), transferring natural gas from the Caspian Sea (Shah Deniz deposit) to the European market (Southern Italy) via Georgia, Turkey, Greece, and Albania.

Concerning TAP, Greece also supports the TAP – IAP (Ionian Adriatic Pipeline) connection which will enable Azeri natural gas to flow to Western Balkan countries as well.

Greece strongly supports the implementation of the Vertical Gas Corridor as a key instrument for achieving regional energy security as it connects Greece, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, and possibly other countries of the region. It will facilitate access to diversified supplies both through interconnectors and LNG terminals as well as to storage facilities. At about the same time, the completion of the natural gas Interconnector Greece - Bulgaria (IGB), an essential part of the Vertical Corridor, aspires to become an additional energy "bridge" for the transportation of natural gas to Southeast and Central European countries.

With TAP, IAP, and the Vertical Gas Corridor, south-east Europe will definitely have access to more diversified gas portfolios and much more competitive prices for consumers.

Furthermore, Greece attaches particular importance to the role of LNG and the construction of further storage facilities, by upgrading the existing LNG terminal at Revythoussa (+70% storage, +40% capacity) and planning a new LNG Terminal in Alexandroupolis (FSRU in Northern Greece), which will be an additional source of natural gas for the Vertical Corridor.

Greece, actively promotes another energy route towards the European markets, through the offshore/onshore natural gas pipeline East Med (Israel - Cyprus – Greece – Italy), aspiring to become a transit country for Israeli and Cypriot natural gas towards European markets. At the same time, Greece equally supports the possibility of the transport of natural gas with LNG tankers from export stations in Cyprus, Israel, and or Egypt (using the existing two Egyptian LNG terminals) to the Greek LNG terminals in Revythoussa and Alexandroupolis, considering that the Greek – owned merchant fleet remains one of the world’s largest.

There is the prospect of interconnection between Greece and Italy via the IGI Poseidon pipeline from various sources in Europe and or the East Mediterranean, serving the energy needs of the region. Our country’s role in these developments is of crucial importance.

Given that the objective of the Greek policy is both to make our country an energy hub in Southeast Europe and to enhance the diversification of resources, Greece envisages the relevant procedures for the transport of Russian natural gas to Europe (southern routing of Russian gas). A positive development towards this direction was the signing of a MoU between DEPA, Edison SpA, and Gazprom (Rome, 02.24.2016) for the development of a new Russian natural gas pipeline to Italy via Greece, in a plan compatible with the energy “aquis communautaire”. The above-mentioned route for transporting Russian natural gas through our country, will contribute to the uninterrupted supply to European consumers through diversification of gas routes.

Concerning the electricity sector, the projects of electricity interconnections, "EuroAsia Interconnector" and “EuroAfrica Interconnector”, are of strategic importance since, through Greece, they will connect Israel and Egypt with the European single electricity market.

As for domestic energy resources, a rational framework for the research and exploitation of hydrocarbons in our country has been developed and will be complemented in order to certify that there is a realistic potential that could lead to less dependency on imports. We are in close cooperation with Cyprus, as their experience and expertise in these fields is valuable.

National energy objectives for 2020 in the energy sector form a powerful development business context within which Greece is called on to exploit the opportunities offered by the domestic natural resources available in renewable energy technologies (RES). Thus, maximizing the participation of RES in the “energy mix”, saving energy, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, the Ministry encourages domestic RES related companies and professionals to expand their activities in foreign markets, utilizing the network of the Economic and Commercial affairs sections of our embassies. Τhe achievement of these goals will contribute to the security of energy supply, the optimal use of resources, and will strengthen the competitiveness of key sectors of the  Greek economy.