According to a new report in Bloomberg, Greece is increasingly turning to natural gas to cut its reliance on coal, with one 100% Greek-owned company setting its sights on leading the evolution.
Mytilineos Holdings SA aims to take over from state incumbent Depa SA to become the leader in Greece's gas market by the end of 2020. The Athens-based company, which has imported U.S. liquefied natural gas to Greece, expects a new power plant and sales to third parties to help it meet that goal.
"Natural gas is the most important pillar of Mytilineos' strategy in the energy sector," Panayotis Kanellopoulos, the managing director of the company's gas subsidiary MNG Trading, said in an interview in Athens. "Greece is a small market but has growth prospects."
Greece is isolated from the main European gas grid, getting most of its supplies through a pipeline from Russia that crosses Bulgaria as well as some LNG, mainly from Algeria under a contract with Depa that expires in 2021.
Greece is expanding its consumption of gas and renewables in an effort to pare back reliance on coal, which now provides a third of the nation’s electricity and as recently as a decade ago contributed 55%, according to data compiled by BloombergNEF.
Mytilineos is the largest of a handful of independent electricity producers that are cutting into the dominance of Public Power Corp., which generates almost two-thirds of Greece’s electricity.
Mytilineos currently has a gas market share of 32% compared with 45% for Depa, Greece’s state-run supplier that is slated for privatization, and has a “competitive portfolio,” Kanellopoulos said. This year will be the first where the company will sell “significant amounts” of gas to third-party customers with revenue from such sales forecast to rise to 100 million euros ($111 million) by the end of 2019 from less than 20 million euros in 2018, he said.
The firm, which was founded in 1990 as a metallurgical company of international trade and participations, is an evolution of an old metallurgical family business which began its activity in 1908. In 2011, the Group's consolidated turnover stood at €1.57 billion, its EBITDA at €208.7 million and net profit at €42.6 million.
Greece is also well located to export gas to neighboring countries and Mytilineos’ aim is to have a role in the wider region, he said.