The European Commission has found that aid to four projects aimed at improving and expanding the Greek gas network complies with EU state aid rules. These projects aim at increasing the gas transmission capacity and security of gas supply within Greece and indirectly at reducing CO2 emissions. The Commission has concluded that the aid furthers EU energy goals without unduly distorting competition in the EU internal market.
Commission Vice-President in charge of competition policy Joaquín Almunia stressed: “The aid will help Greece to expand and strengthen its gas network. This will improve competition between gas suppliers and will benefit consumers, also by diversifying energy sources.”
DESFA is Greece’s only gas transmission operator. It is however obliged to ensure that third party access is available to its network for all suppliers of gas.
The granting of €134 million of aid, financed by the Greek state and by EU structural funds, to DESFA contributes to the implementation of four infrastructure projects. In particular, increasing the storage capacity of an LNG Terminal in Revithoussa enables a better balancing of the gas demand in the south and enhances the security of supply. The installation of a natural gas compressor station in Nea Messimvria improves gas flow from north to south where the main gas consumption is located. Furthermore, the new high pressure gas pipelines allow for diversification of energy sources in areas that did not have access to gas before (Aliveri and Ag Theodoroi-Megalopoli). The total amount to be invested in these projects is €414 million.
The Commission considers that these projects help to develop the gas market in Greece by enabling DESFA to offer extra gas transmission capacity. In addition, the projects have indirect environmental benefits resulting from the possibility of using a less polluting fuel in areas that so far relied on heavy fuel oils in energy production.
Greece started to develop its gas network in the 1990s in order to diversify its energy supply and replace lignite and oil with less polluting gas in energy production. Before 1990, no gas network existed in the country. Currently, the gas network is basically limited to the east part of the country and mainly on the route from the north – north east borders to Athens. The supported projects connect the south most region of the mainland i.e. Peloponnese and Evia island with the main gas grid and enable smooth supply of the demand in the south where the main consumption centres are located.