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Greece

Capital Athens
Time Zone EET (GMT+2)
Country Code 30
Mobile Codes 690,693,694,695,697,698,699
ccTLD .gr
Currency Euro
Land Area 131,990 sq km
Population 11.3 million
Language Greek
Major Religion Orthodox Christianity

The Greek Energy Sector in 2011: Corporate Profiles of the Major Players

By Ioannis Michaletos in Athens

Currently, Greece imports more than 70 percent of its energy needs. The country’s only reliable domestic energy source is lignite, which accounts for some 70 percent of its internal electricity production.

Plans for solar and wind power are expected to draw investments worth 5 billion euros by 2020, according to information provided by the Ministry of Development. Foreign companies that specialize in this field – most of them, from Germany – have already set up local offices in order to take advantage of the new market that is to be created.

Overall, 7 percent of the country’s energy needs could be sustained over the next decade by solar energy, though over the next few decades this percentage might exceed 30 percent due to Greece’s ample year-round sunshine, which in the southern regions of the country exceeds 3,000 hours a year.

Wind energy can fulfill another 15 percent, and wind parks are being constructed in various suitable locations. If one adds biofuel, geothermic, and wave energy, Greece has the ability to become a fully independent energy producer by the middle of the 21st century, freeing itself from the constraints of energy imports and helping itself to withstand the perils of desertification and environmental degradation.

The oil factor is a very important one too, since it represents some 55 percent of Greece’s yearly energy consumption and is imported, barring some minimum amounts being produced in the Kavala offshore oil field in northern Greece. Natural gas is a quickly expanding commodity, but for the time being its contribution to Greece’s energy total is a mere 9 percent.

Finally, the ongoing economic recession in Greece has decreased electricity consumption by around 4%, thus causing plans for the creation of new plants to be stalled.

At the present time, those companies driving developments on the Greek energy scene most strongly include the following major energy players.

Hellenic Petroleum  (ELPE)

Hellenic Petroleum is one of the leading energy company in Southeastern Europe, and one of the largest industrial and commercial companies in Greece.

ELPE’s main current business activities comprise refining and marketing of petroleum products (R&M), petrochemicals and natural gas, while the company is also in the stage of developing an exploration and production of hydrocarbons (E&P) international portfolio. Hellenic Petroleum also operates the first private CCGT power generation plant in Greece.

The company owns and operates three of the four refineries in Greece and covers 73% of local demand for oil products. Hellenic Petroleum also covers 28% of the retail petroleum products consumption in Greece, being present in more than 1,400 retail stations throughout the country and operating a strong network of LPG, industrial, aviation, marine and lubricants sales.

Hellenic Petroleum further has a strong position in seven countries. It operates the OKTA refinery outside of Skopje, and it has a presence in Cyprus, Serbia, Montenegro, Bulgaria, Albania and further afield, in Georgia.

Further, the corporation is the sole petrochemicals producer in Greece with market shares higher than 50% in all the products it produces or trades in this sector. The key products are polypropylene, BOPP film, PVC, aliphatic solvents and inorganic. The polypropylene production is considered as one of the top of its kind in Europe and the bulk of the commodity is exported globally.

Moreover, it has a 35% stake in the Greek Public Natural Gas company (DEPA) which owns and operates the domestic high and medium pressure natural gas pipeline’s grid.

The company is in the stage of developing an international E&P portfolio, and currently has exploration interests in Greece, Egypt, Albania and Montenegro. Other projects at hand include a 1.5 billion euro investment in its facilities, in order to boost productivity and the ‘environmental friendliness’ of its products.

Hellenic Petroleum also owns and operates the first private CCGT power generation plant in Greece, Thessaloniki, with a capacity of 390 MW. (The plant commenced operations on December 24, 2005). The fixed investment for this plant amounted to 250 million euros.

The main shareholders in this plant are the Greek state (35.48%), Paneuropean Oil and Industrial Holdings S.A.; some 41.25% of this venture is owned by Greek tycoon Spyros Latsis, while the remainder (23.27%) is floated on the Athens Stock Exchange.

For the year ending December 31, 2010, Hellenic Petroleum Group posted net sales of 14,557 billion euros, with total assets of 4,191 billion euros and EBITDA of 474 million euros. The company has 5,200 employees.

Greek Power Corporation (DEI)

The Greek Power Corporation (DEI) is the largest electric power company in Greece. The state currently owns 51% of its shares, and it produces and supplies electricity to all the country.

The DEI facilitates Greece’s energy efficiency through several vast projects. The 34 major thermal and hydroelectric power plants and the 3 aeolic parks of the interconnected power grid of the mainland, as well as the 60 autonomous power plants located on Crete, Rhodes and other Greek islands (33 thermal, 2 hydroelectric, 18 aeolic and 5 photovoltaic parks) form DEI’s industrial complex, and constitute the energy basis of all financial activities of the country.

The total installed capacity of DEI’s 98 power plants is currently 12,760 MW with a net generation of 53.09 TWh.

There are five current major developments going on under DEI’s initiative. They include: an 800MW natural-gas fired unit to be installed in Megalopolis; a 450MW lignite-fired unit to be installed in Meliti; a 450MW lignite-fired unit using fluidized bed technology, to be installed in Kozani-Ptolemaida; a 700-800MW hard-coal-fired unit to be installed in Aliveri, and a 700-800MW hard-coal-fired unit to be installed in Larymna.

Moreover, DEI is now developing a project to introduce natural gas into the island of Crete following a development agreed with DESFA S.A. (Hellenic Gas Transmission System Operator), for the creation of an LNG terminal in Korakia and gas pipeline infrastructure. The DEI will build 2X250MW combined cycle units near the terminal, and will transfer there three existing GTs from the Linoperamata Power Station. The aforementioned investment program is estimated at more than 4 billion euros.

Finally, in 2007 DEI decided to divide its renewable energy production from its core business. It is assumed that this move will facilitate the company’s strategy of expanding into the lucrative and environmentally-friendly fields of wind, solar and alternative energy production.

Already, the company’s current business plan dictates the production of 1540MW from renewable energy sources by 2014, with a total budget of 1.6 billion euros. The capital will be sourced by the parent DEI Company and private funding.

In this regard, one key development came when the DEI Renewable Resources Company signed an agreement with the French EDF Energies Nouvelles for the construction of wind parks, with a power capacity of 122MW, and another with the Greek ETBA Bank for solar parks of 35MW. The EDF is aiming at securing deals for an infrastructure of over 1,000 wind parks in Greece over the next decade.

DEI Renewables currently has as a strategy to acquire at least 25% of the market share by 2012, while it already has almost 10% of the market, with 100MW of operating energy production. The list of such infrastructure already operating includes 23 wind parks, 5 photovoltaic stations and 9 small hydro electrical plants.

In the first 9 months of 2010, DEI registered net sales of 4,467 billion euros, EBITDA of 1,223 billion euros, and also invested 694 million euros in infrastructure projects.

DEPA

DEPA is the largest natural gas corporation in Greece. It is 65% owned by the state, with the remainder controlled by the Hellenic Petroleum Group. (Some 35% of the state’s shares are also optioned by DEI).

Recent notable developments with DEPA include the upgrade – with a 130 million euro investment – of its LNG facilities in Revythousa, where the bulk of the gas from Algeria is imported and refined. Approximately some 20% of the gas imported comes from Algeria, while the rest from Russia and Azerbaijan.

It is estimated that for 2010 DEPA’s client demand remained steady, allowing an approximation of at least 4 billion cubic meters of gas required annually from the company.

Finally a deal signed between the Russian Gazprom and the Italian ENI in 2007 regarding the “South Stream” project (should it is completed by 2015) foresees the transfer of some 30 billion cubic meters of gas per annum through Greek territory and into Italy. Present information reveals that the storage of some of the above will be in DEPA-owned facilities in Northern Greece, and used for exports.

Finally, DEPA is participating in the ITGI project that involves the transfer of Azeri gas to Italy through Turkey and Greece; it has already formed a 50-50 company with the Italian EDISON, while it also participates with the same company in the IGB pipeline going from Northern Greece to Bulgaria.

DEPA also owns 100% of DESFA, Greece’s natural gas company that operates the domestic network system. For 2009, the last year for which total figures are available, DEPA registered net sales of 980 million euros and EBITDA of 149 million euros.

Motor Oil

Motor Oil owns the second-largest oil refinery in Greece and the second-largest network of gas stations, along with a host of other energy-related businesses. It employs in its production facility 1,300 personnel, and has invested around 1 billion euros over the past 8 years. The company maintains business interests in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Yemen. Its refinery has 9 million metric tons of oil refinery capacity per annum.

Currently, 51.5% of Motor Oil is owned by Petroventure Holdings Limited, which belongs to the prominent Greek business family of Vardinoyannis. For 2009, it had net sales of around 4 billion euros, and EBITDA of 215 million euros.  Currently, a 285-million euro investment plan is being developed for the construction of 436MW natural gas power plant, along with the Mytilineos group in the region of Korinthos.

Mytilineos Group

The Mytilineos group S.A. is an industrial conglomerate founded in Greece in 1990, and listed on the Athens Stock Exchange. Its consolidated turnover amounts to about 1 billion euros, and it employs more than 3,000 employees, both in Greece and abroad.

The group maintains a presence in Greece, Romania, Turkey, Syria and Pakistan. In 2008, it formed a joint venture agreement with Motor Oil Hellas S.A. for the joint construction, operation and exploitation of natural gas-fired power plants with an output capacity of more than 800 MW within the Motor Oil facilities in Ag. Theodori (Corinth).

The company’s activities include construction, development and operation of thermal power plants and renewable energy sources (wind, hydropower and photovoltaic parks), and trading in electrical power and CO2 emissions, as well as LNG trading.

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