Gas Operator DESFA Looking to Build 336-Mile Hydrogen Pipeline for $1.12 Billion

(Reuters) — Greek gas grid operator DESFA wants to build a $1.12 billion hydrogen pipeline that will connect Greece to Bulgaria, as part of a future European southeastern corridor, it said on Thursday.

The scheme, jointly proposed with Bulgaria, has passed an initial technical assessment by the European Commission, making it eligible for inclusion in a European list of projects of common interest, DESFA said in a presentation released on Thursday.

This puts "Greece, Spain and Italy at the same level with respect to the potential for the future role that these Mediterranean countries will play in providing infrastructure for hydrogen," DESFA Chief Executive Maria Rita Galli told a news conference.

DESFA said that the 540-km (336-mile) pipeline will be part of a European corridor that will tap into big quantities of available solar and wind energy to connect regions with high potential for hydrogen production with central Europe and southern Germany, where significant demand is expected by 2030.

Following the war in Ukraine and cuts of Russian gas supply in Europe, Greece's role as a transit route for gas to Bulgaria and other central European countries has strengthened as many users opted to import liquefied natural gas through the country's sole LNG terminal off Athens.

Nearly two-thirds of 6.5 Bcm of gas that Greece consumes annually is used for electricity generation.

While domestic gas consumption dropped by an annual 21.7% in the first half of the year, gas exports from Greece rose by 15%, the DESFA presentation showed. Greek imports of Russian pipeline gas dropped by 46% in the same period.

($1 = 0.8938 euros)

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