Public Gas Corporation of Greece SA (DEPA) and the European Investment Bank (EIB) signed an agreement to finance with up to EUR 20 million the construction of a new LNG bunkering vessel for maritime use in Greece, which will be based in Piraeus.
With a capacity of 3,000 cubic metres of LNG, the vessel, which is the first of its kind in Greece and the Eastern Mediterranean, will be supplied with LNG at Revithoussa LNG terminal and will refuel ships both in Piraeus and other ports in Greece and the wider region, supporting the shift towards green shipping with more environmentally friendly fuels, in line with the new more stringent international regulations.
The agreement was signed by Konstantinos Xifaras, Chief Executive Officer of DEPA, and Andrew McDowell, EIB Vice-President, in the presence of the President of the Board of Directors of DEPA, Ioannis Papadopoulos, who said: “The new financing from the EIB, the largest investment arm of Europe, is yet one more vote of confidence to the growth prospects of the Greek economy and confirms the significant improvement of the investment climate. It comes in support of a crucial investment in the area of natural gas, which is at the centre of global developments, and contributes to the transformation of Greece into a regional hub.
Furthermore, this is a “green” investment, which paves the way for “cleaner” and more competitive maritime transport in the eastern Mediterranean, contributing to the reduction of the country’s environmental footprint, in accordance with the ambitious targets set by the new National Plan for Energy and Climate.”
The loan is guaranteed by the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI / Juncker Plan) and will cover 50% of the vessel’s construction cost. For the construction of the vessel DEPA has secured an additional amount of EUR 8.9 million from the European Union under the European Action entitled “BlueHUBS”, which is coordinated by DEPA and aims at expanding the use of LNG in maritime transport in the eastern Mediterranean.
Following the signature of the agreement, Mr Xifaras said: “The new vessel will serve the supply needs not only of Piraeus but also of other Greek ports and it represents one more decisive step in DEPA’s efforts to expand the use of LNG in maritime transport in the eastern Mediterranean, thus creating an integrated and efficient LNG supply chain.
Through targeted investments, such as this one, as well as through multilevel international collaborations, DEPA supports the transition of both big ports and ships in the region to the LNG era, contributing to the protection of the environment and improving the competitiveness of Greek shipping and the ports of our country.”
Mr McDowell, European Investment Bank Vice President, said: “The European Investment Bank is pleased to work with DEPA to support our shared goals of enabling Green Shipping in Greek and international waters. The new EIB financed vessel will provide an alternative fuel for ships in the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean.”
The EIB today formally agreed to provide EUR 140 million to support expansion and upgrading of the Port of Piraeus, the principal port of Greece. The largest ever loan for port investment in the country by Europe’s long-term lending institution, will support the implementation of part of investments at the Port of Piraeus in a total investment plan of more than EUR 600 million.
The first import terminal for liquefied natural gas in the Netherlands was opened last week in Rotterdam by Queen Beatrix. The new terminal caters for the rising demand for natural gas in north-western Europe, in spite of declining production.