Public Gas Corporation of Greece SA (DEPA) has signed a grant agreement with Europe Union’s Innovation and Networks Executive Agency (INEA) for the construction of the first Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) bunkering vessel for the Port of Piraeus, the largest Greek seaport and one of the biggest in the Mediterranean Sea and Europe.
DEPA will build the vessel as a component of the EU-approved BlueHUBS program – “LNG and compressed natural gas (CNG) Supply Chains Upgrading Core in TEN-T Ports in the eastern Mediterranean”. The European Commission is investing EUR 695.1 million (USD 796m) in 49 key projects to develop sustainable and innovative infrastructure across all transport modes. Of this amount, EUR 19.8 million (USD 22.6m) is allocated to cover 30% of the total cost of BlueHUBS. This huge energy project aims to create the basic supply chain for the distribution of natural gas to port users for ships, port heavy vehicles and buses.
The proposed bunker vessel will have a capacity of 3,000 cubic meters. It will be the first such vessel in Greece and the Eastern Mediterranean and will be able to meet LNG supply needs at the port of Piraeus as well as transport LNG to other major ports in the country. DEPA and project partners herald this as a transition of Greek shipping to a new era of adopting new, environmentally friendly fuels.
The use of LNG in shipping, in particular in certain categories of vessels such as coastal boats, is regarded as the best solution to meet the world-wide environmental requirements for marine fuels from the beginning of 2020 (MARPOL Annex VI) as well as new environmental requirements that are likely to be enforced thereafter.
DEPA is systematically promoting the use of LNG in shipping, being a co-ordinator and partner of the EU co-funded by the EU program POSEIDON MED II. As a consequence, DEPA is co-ordinator and partner of the new BlueHUBS program, a joint program between Greece and Cyprus which builds on the success of the EU-approved POSEIDON MED II program.
BlueHUBS actually includes two 3,000 m³ capacity LNG bunkering vessels, the second of which will be in the Core TEN-T port of Limmasol (Lemesos) in Cyprus; and compressed liquified natural gas (LCNG) stations and LNG tanker trucks with bunkering equipment in Core TEN-T ports of Heraklion and Lemesos.
The funding was applied for by DEPA and a group of energy sector companies actively engaged in the wholesale market, trading, supply and distribution of gas to large and retail customers. State-owned Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (HRADF), responsible for privatising Greek state-owned assets, holds 65% of DEPA.