Expansion of Southern Gas Corridor
He noted that the Southern Gas Corridor is really important for Greece.
“Greece is the gateway of the Southern Gas Corridor in Europe and a major goal of our international relations in the field of energy is to extend the benefits of diversified sources and routes to our neighbours. The swift realization of the Southern Gas Corridor for Azerbaijani natural gas from the Caspian Sea to Italy through the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) at the end of 2020 constitutes one of the most important steps towards enhancing energy security in Europe. The quantities of gas carried by TAP play a significant role in supplying Europe with a new, reliable and affordable energy source, while facilitating the energy transition at the same time,” said Fragkogiannis.
The deputy minister recalled that during the Southern Gas Corridor Meeting one month ago in Baku (4.02.2022), the General Secretary of Energy and Mineral Resources of Greece Alexandra Sdoukou represented Greece and had the opportunity to once again emphasize the importance the country attaches to cooperation with Azerbaijan in the field of energy.
Fragkogiannis pointed out that Greece is willing to explore all alternatives available in order to secure its energy sufficiency.
“The war between Russia and Ukraine has caused many problems, which will become even more visible in the near future. The Southern Gas Corridor could play an important role in compensating for the negative effects of the aforementioned war in the energy sector. Greece is an important partner of the TAP project. There is great potential in this field and we are expecting that during 2022 IGB connectivity will begin, bringing the expected results to the energy markets and triggering the dynamic capacity of both our countries. The possible expansion of the capacity of the Southern Gas Corridor would further enhance the energy security of Greece and Europe. However, I would like to emphasize that the expansion of TAP capacity is a business decision of the TAP Consortium and one which requires time and investment,” said the Greek deputy minister.
He added that the examination by the Consortium of new technology possibilities that would allow TAP to move towards the transportation of a blend of natural gas and hydrogen is also of great importance.
Greece is very supportive of the use of renewable gases and hydrogen in order to align with “green” energy policies, said Fragkogiannis.
Work on Interconnector Greece-Bulgaria (IGB)
The deputy minister noted that Greece participates in IGB connectivity through a joint venture composed of two Greek companies and the competent Public Gas Corporation of Greece that have agreed on the provision of 1 billion cubic meters of natural gas per year.
“Greece has done – and is doing – everything possible for the implementation of the IGB project, which will start its operation by the end of June – early July 2022. In full operation, the IGB, together with TAP, will contribute to ensuring more diversified natural gas portfolios, greater competition in the gas sector and much more competitive prices to the benefit of the end-consumers in Europe,” he added.
More room for energy cooperation
Fragkogiannis pointed out that Greece looks forward to cooperating with Azerbaijan in all fields of economic activity with a particular interest in the energy sector: Greece and Azerbaijan can enhance their cooperation in energy supplies and in several natural gas projects, as Greece is an important partner of the TAP project.
“Investment opportunities exist in various fields, such as new technologies, Renewable Energy Resources, natural gas, constructions and many others; investments could be achieved by expanding the existent business interaction between the Greek and the Azerbaijani business communities and forging new synergies,” said the deputy minister.
He pointed out that SOCAR is already playing an important role in the development of the Greek energy sector as it holds 20 percent of the shares of the TAP consortium.
“We believe that this constitutes a solid foundation for exploring further possibilities of the Azerbaijani involvement in the Greek energy landscape. This is especially true during these times of energy uncertainty. We are open to examine fruitful proposals which would be beneficial for both sides,” said Fragkogiannis.
Prospects in renewable energy sphere
The Greek deputy minister noted that as both countries are very interested in RES, there is ample room for strengthening the cooperation and taking advantage of synergies on a mutual benefit basis.
“Cooperation between Greece and Azerbaijan is foreseen in the Memorandum of Cooperation signed in 2009 in the field of RES and energy efficiency. Greece could also provide important know-how to Azerbaijan and participate in common RES projects via its research and academic institutions,” he concluded.