Greece is in talks over extra imports of liquefied natural gas from Algeria to avert possible shortages in case of a cut in Russian gas supplies, a senior Greek official has said.
According to the Oxford Institute of Energy Studies, in 2009, when Russia halted gas deliveries to much of Europe through pipelines transiting Ukraine in a price dispute with the Ukrainian government, Greece was able to buy liquefied natural gas (LNG) to make up for the shortfall as well as supply gas to its northern neighbour Bulgaria.
Russia’s Gazprom supplies two-thirds of the natural gas Greece consumes. Unlike Greece, which according to the country’s Energy Minister Yiannis Maniatis is among the best prepared EU member states for a possible disruption of Russian gas supplies in the winter, Bulgaria, which relies on deliveries of Russian gas via a single pipeline via Ukraine to meet nearly 90% of its gas needs, is much more vulnerable to a disruption.
According to Spanoudis, a final investment decision on the construction of an interconnector linking Greece and Bulgaria is expected to be made by the end of the year. The link that would help offset the impact of possible cuts in Russian gas flowing through Ukraine, is projected to carry up to five billion cubic metres of gas a year and become operational in 2017.