New gas terminal in Greece, expected to open at the end of 2023, will transport gas to Moldova and Ukraine and so reduce their energy dependency on Russia.
European Council President Charles Michel meets Moldova’s President Maia Sandu in Brussels, January 18, 2021. Photo: EPA-EFE/Johanna Geron
Greece is constructing two liquefied gas LNG terminals in Alexandroupoli, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced on Tuesday, one of which is planned to transport gas to Moldova and Ukraine.
The event was attended by European Council President Charles Michel, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, the Prime Ministers of Bulgaria Kiril Petkov and North Macedonia’s Dimitar Kovacevski.
Moldova has welcomed the news. “We have a dialogue on energy that aims to strengthen our country’s independence and energy efficiency … Moldova needs investment to alleviate the energy crisis,” President Maia Sandu said during Wednesday’s visit by European Council President Michel to Chisinau.
Michel promised support for Moldova in the energy sector, given that it currently depends 100 per cent on gas from Russia.
Russia recently cut off supplies of gas to Poland and Bulgaria over their support for Ukraine, which is at war with Russia.
An energy expert and former presidential adviser of the Moldovan president, Sergiu Tofilat, told BIRN the new terminals would not solve problems instantly.
“In the next two to three years, there will be a shortage of liquefied gas because it will take time for the export terminals to be built. There is still a shortage of vessels to transport liquefied gas,” he said.
He warned that, as Russia’s Gazprom has such a large share of gas in the EU market, it will be difficult to replace such gas volumes quickly. “There will be a deficit from this point of view, and prices will remain high,” he added.
Another energy expert from Moldova, Ion Muntean, told BIRN that the EU needed to come up with a response to the current gas crisis in Europe and diversify its gas supply sources, especially in the development of transport, processing and infrastructure and liquefied natural gas reception.
“It is good that Greece found this solution. Liquefied gas is the main alternative to natural gas traditionally supplied by land pipelines. Moreover, this port in Greece is closer to Romania and Moldova, which would be an advantage for Chisinau,” he said.
The new terminals in Alexandroupoli are to be completed and operationalized by December 2023. This would amplify Greece’s role as a regional natural gas supplier in the region. Exports are expected to countries like Bulgaria, Serbia, North Macedonia, Romania, Moldova and Ukraine.
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