North Macedonia is looking to participate in the project for the construction of liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in Alexandroupoli in Greece, with the support from the United States. Greek oil refiner Hellenic Petroleum (ELPE) is planning to reopen Skopje-Thessaloniki oil pipeline, which stopped operating in 2013. According to estimates, energy connection with Greece will cost 55 million euros, with 13 million already obtained through the European funds.
The country’s participation in the construction of LNG terminal in Greece will help North Macedonia to receive gas from Azerbaijan through a branch. According to US Assistant Secretary of State for Energy Resources Francis R. Fanon, small countries like North Macedonia will no longer be dependent on just one gas source. There is support from the United States for the reactivation of the Skopje-Thessaloniki oil pipeline, a topic discussed at the meeting of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Greek Minister of Environment and Energy Hatzidakis in Thessaloniki earlier this week.
Last month, Prime Minister Zoran Zaev met with CEO of Copelouzos Group Christos Copelouzos and expressed interest in taking part in the project. Copelouzos Group is a founder of Gastrade, a company which is developing the project.
It would be beneficial for North Macedonia to get another natural gas supply source. Experts say that in addition to Russian gas, which now reaches the country via Bulgaria, joining the Alexandroupoli LNG project provides the country with quantities of cheaper and more environmentally friendly energy.
Joining this project will enable the country to become an energy corridor through which gas from Greece will reach other countries. However, most of Macedonian consumers, both residential and industrial, will not be able to use this gas right away. The construction of the main gas pipeline is in progress, but it is still very far from the construction of a network that will bring the gas to the consumers.