The US has supported multi-year efforts for energy cooperation in the Southern Mediterranean and electricity interconnections and will continue to do so despite the challenges, US Deputy Secretary of State and former Ambassador to Greece Geoffrey Pyatt said at today’s 7th Southeast Europe Energy Forum organized in Thessaloniki by the Hellenic American Chamber and the Hellenic Society for Energy Economy (HAEE).
Payat emphasized that today this positive vision is faced with the terrorism of Hamas, but he believes that in the end cooperation will prevail.
According to him, the good news is that regional energy markets have not been disrupted much so far. The Tamar gas field may have shut down, but it hasn’t made much of an impact yet. Also, Secretary of State Blinken and the US government are making every effort to avoid an escalation of the conflict.
The American official emphasized the leadership shown by Greece in the matter of regional cooperation. As the most obvious example he brought the Southern Corridor which helped Europe to diversify its gas sources. Accordingly, the IGB gas pipeline was another critical step that changed the situation in SE Europe. At the end of the year the operation of FSRU Alexandroupolis will allow more LNG to arrive in Greece and neighboring countries.
According to Pyatt, Greece has managed to reshape the energy map and its own resources have played a crucial role in weaning the region off Russian gas. “When the end of the war in Ukraine comes, the region will be very important and Thessaloniki and Northern Greece will be central”, he underlined.
Speaking about the energy transition, Pyatt emphasized that the increase in electricity demand and the need for new networks is great internationally. It is also a matter of the supply chain, where Greece has good industries such as cables. “Greek companies will be able to contribute to the reconstruction of Ukraine,” he said.
Regarding the energy crisis, he said that Europe is in a better position this winter. American LNG is coming in large quantities, while Greece invested in the expansion of Revythoussa. Liquefaction capacity in the US is expected to increase by 50% by 2025, which will help significantly. Also, continuous investment in energy saving measures is needed. In any case, the US is committed to remaining a strong partner of Europe.
Finally, speaking about the next steps of the Greek-American energy cooperation, Payat declared that he was proud of the role played by the minister, Th. Skylakakis, and the deputy minister Al. Sdukou with a meaningful dialogue between the two countries.
The completion of FSRU Alexandroupolis and Greece’s role for security and transition are critical. At the same time, the gas pipeline with North Macedonia is progressing, the cooperation with Serbia and Kosovo is progressing, while the USA firmly supports the tripartite cooperation in An. Mediterranean, with the aim of joining Egypt and bringing clean energy to Europe through Greece.
At the same time, there are also bilateral discussions on hydrogen, where Greece has an excellent position and this fuel will help difficult sectors, such as shipping.