Demand for natural gas to soar by 2010

Athens on Wednesday hosted a meeting of transportation and distribution companies for Russian natural gas in the Balkans, bringing together representatives from Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, Romania, Bulgaria, FYROM and Turkey.


Nikos Stephanou, the development ministry’s secretary-general, opened the sesssion by noting that the government’s energy policy aimed to expand the natural gas grid around the county, while stressing that state-run DEPA SA has begun a series of projects to expand supply to western Greece, as well as to strengthen network safety and the reliability of the national grid.


These projects include: interconnecting Greek-Turkish natural gas networks (DEPA is expected to complete its part of the project by April 2007); upgrading the Revithoussa off-shore terminal by June 2007; building a natural gas pipeline between the cities of Karditsa and Trikala (central Greece); building a pipeline to the power station at Aliveri (central Evia); building a pipeline to Corinth and later on to Megalopoli in order supply new power stations in the Peloponnese.


The meeting aims to draft a specific timetable for the maintenance and development of sections of a natural gas Inter-Balkan system, running through participating countries, and to ensure the supply of natural gas in the region.


Russian supplies account for around 80 percent of Greece’s natural gas imports. Greek imports are expected to surpass 2.5 billion cubic metres this year, rising more in the future.


Stephanou said demand for natural gas in Greece was expected to rise rapidly over the next few years, to more than 6.0 billion cubic metres by 2010 and to 7.5 billion in 2015. Greece’s natural gas grid now covers 962 km of high-pressure pipelines.

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