Greece and its neighbors can transform the energy landscape in SE Europe, says Pyatt
Greece and its neighbors have the capacity to achieve real transformation of the energy landscape, with enormous benefits for citizens and businesses alike, US Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt said in his welcoming remarks on Friday at the Southeastern Europe Energy Forum, in the context of the Thessaloniki International Fair.
Pyatt noted Greece’s importance as “a critical energy partner of the United States and a champion of European energy security, helping to deliver on our shared goal of deepening energy security through diversification of routes, sources, and supplies of energy.”
Northern Greece and Thessaloniki in particular, he said have always served as important crossroads for Europe and the Mediterranean region. The region’s importance as a crossroads for energy resources was reflected in the two separate visits by senior-level US officials this summer, State Department Assistant Secretary for Energy Resources Frank Fannon and Department of Energy Undersecretary Mark Menezes, who was scheduled to speak after the ambassador.
Pyatt referred to the project of the Southern Gas Corridor, a complex project which would “provide an alternative source of pipeline gas into Europe for the first time ever.” Greece, he added, is “playing a critical role in accomplishing this goal” through its support for the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP).
“Once operational, TAP has the potential to bolster Europe’s wider energy security and enhance regional infrastructure all at once, while fulfilling Greece’s goal of becoming an important regional energy hub,” he said, “and it is no small thing that the largest segment of the pipeline ? more than 550 kilometers ? runs directly through this region.”
The ambassador said that Greece was also taking steps to provide expanded options for liquefied natural gas (LNG) by upgrading the existing terminal at Revythoussa and through the proposed floating storage unit near Alexandroupolis, which he said also is a US government priority. “These initiatives boost Greece’s energy resilience, strengthen regional markets, and create new opportunities for business. They also help deliver on our shared goal of increased US LNG exports to Europe,” he added, as highlighted in the recent Oval Office meeting between US and European Commission Presidents Donald Trump and Jean-Claude Juncker.
Pyatt added that the Greece-Bulgaria Interconnector and other projects would strengthen economic ties and cooperation throughout the region. “Greece and its neighbors have the capacity to achieve real transformation of the energy landscape, with enormous benefits for citizens and businesses alike,” he pointed out.
Before introducing US Energy Undersecretary Menezes, the American ambassador concluded his address by referring to the importance of many privatizations taking place now in the Greek energy sector, and mentioned “the recent successful sale of DESFA, forthcoming privatizations of the electrical and power generation system, and the upcoming sale of the majority of Hellenic Petroleum.” All of them, he said, “offer the chance for new capital and innovation in Greece’s energy sector, at a time when Greece is returning to growth and able to take advantage of a transforming energy marketplace.”
Also attending the energy forum among others were Ministers of Energy Giorgos Stathakis of Greece, Aleksandar Antic of Serbia and Temenuzhka Petkova of Bulgaria, and three US legislators from New York, Wyoming and Rhode Island.