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Greece and the new energy: Gas is the "bridge" to the new energy world

For ten years, the Greek state-owned hydrocarbon management company (EDEY) has been managing the rights of the state in oil and gas exploration and exploitation in Greece. The recent waivers of international companies, such as Repsol, from exploration rights for Greece's oil reserves have sparked scenarios for the early end of the "oil era" in Greece with a variety of geopolitical and economic side effects.

EDEY Executive Director, Dr. Aristophanes Stephen - an expert in geology and geophysics, with many years of experience in management positions in private hydrocarbon companies abroad, especially Norwegian - claims that EDEY has a key role in the Greek transformation to green energy.

ETS: While the legal ratification of the latest hydrocarbon exploration concessions has been a matter of months, we are witnessing a growing trend of companies leaving. Does this mark the beginning of the end of the hydrocarbon era in Greece, before it even begins?

Stephen: No, definitely not. What we are experiencing is the biggest transformation of the sector since the discovery of oil and gas 100 years ago. Of course, this is not just about hydrocarbons, but about the energy sector as a whole. What we are seeing is a real paradigm shift, imposed by the growing awareness of society that we must tackle climate change. This assumption determines public demand and puts pressure on businesses and politicians to act without delay.

At the same time, I believe that industrially and economically developed countries are realizing that there is an opportunity to reduce their energy dependence on traditional oil-producing countries, which is especially important at a time when global trade competition is escalating. The pandemic helped to create a sense of urgency and to reveal the enormous complexity of our global socio-economic system.

As you know, many countries today are working hard to find a balance on how to deal with these complexities: for example, the closure of society can have a positive effect on limiting the spread of the virus, but it also has a huge negative impact on others. sectors. We are experiencing something similar in the energy sector. Greece, however, has a significant competitive advantage, as it can work and bridge the traditional energy world with the new one.

ETS: Is there a transitional role for EDEY (Greek hydrocarbon management company) in the irreversible shift to sustainable and renewable energy sources?

Stephen: Although it sounds like an oxymoron, EDEJ plays a key role in this transition. The fact that we need to change our energy mix by including more sustainable and renewable energy sources is indisputable. Greece has embarked on one of the most ambitious and successful trips in Europe to achieve the desired transition. The question, however, is not about our final destination - which we all agree on - but about how to get there. This is a huge area that we will have to cover in the coming decades, and will be sought between the most polluting hydrocarbons and the economy that is powered solely by clean renewables.

ETS: What alternative can you suggest to the oil companies that have been attracted to invest in Greece in the last decade?

Stephen: Given the special features of the Greek market, we should address those companies that are the first to accept the changes in their energy mix and that do it in the smartest way. We know, for example, that gas should act as a catalyst as a "transitional fuel" in this transition - without it we are unlikely to keep our energy system running while eliminating lignite and waiting for it to be replenished from renewable sources. Therefore, we have to finance the huge costs associated with changing our entire energy and economic system.

Greece must step up its efforts to make money from the wealth we have in terms of cleaner energy sources, such as natural gas. It has the potential to generate significant revenues, not only for economic recovery, but also for accelerating the energy transition. I also believe that strengthening Greece's strategic energy footprint is in the country's geopolitical interest. We are already seeing developments in liquefied natural gas (LPG), the TAP pipeline, the IGB (Greek-Bulgarian gas pipeline) and other energy investments have put Greece at the forefront of the region and the EU.

ETS: Alternatives discussed include gas and carbon dioxide storage, etc. "Blue hydrogen". Are these technologies really green?

Stephen: I fully share Greece's national strategy for combating climate change and accelerating the transition to a low-carbon economy. My job as CEO of EDEY is to implement these national strategies. Personally, I hope we will do it with the same efficiency and based on the approach of other successful countries.

Norway, for example, where I lived for many years until my recent return to Greece, has a vibrant and highly successful hydrocarbon sector with billions of dollars in annual revenue for health, education, pensions and other national priorities, as well as environmental mitigation projects. (for example, the Northern Light project on carbon capture and storage). They do it with the strictest environmental and social care. I find no reason why Greece should not try to do the same.

Utilizing existing facilities and transforming them into clean carbon dioxide reduction projects are undoubtedly green "circular economy" projects. Such projects can offer future solutions for the domestic industry, accelerate the real transition to hydrogen and add value to the gas infrastructure.

Recently, through the acquisition of DEPA International Works, we are participating in important transport projects, such as the transnational IGB and EastMed pipelines, which will improve the verticalization of our energy sector. system. But we are also expanding horizontally, exploring how we can create synergies between hydrocarbons and renewable energy, especially in the offshore environment.

Taken from Ephemeris ton syntactone from Athens

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