Qatar keeps close eye on EU’s LNG push
Qatar is looking to take advantage of a European Union strategy aiming to have the shipping fleets of its member states running on Liquefied Natural Gas from 2025.
To achieve this goal the EU is looking to introduce incentives and provisions for shipowners making the conversion to LNG.
Qatar, the world’s leading supplier of LNG, is already believed to be in negotiations as it targets owners from Greece, which boasts the largest commercial marine fleet in the world.
Greece's Ministry of Maritime Affairs has assured local ship owners that the transformation of their engine fuel that comes with a significant cost can initially be subsidised from available EU funds during the course of the next decade.
During a recent visit to Athens the Chief Financial Officer of Qatar Petroleum International relayed to his counterparts in the Greek corporate world that his company is eager into expand LNG trading in the country, aiming specifically for the maritime market.
Reports suggest US$80 million has already been invested to acquire 25 per cent of a natural gas power plant in the country, the result of a partnership between GEK-TERNA and GDF Suez.
Greece’s Maritime Affairs Minister Ioannis Varvitsiotis is pushing forward for the introduction of LNG as the prime fuel for vessels, betting on overall massive investments that Greek ship owners have made over the past few years into securing key positions in the international LNG trade by investing more than $14 billion in newly built LNG carriers.
In order for the project to succeed QPI suggests that LNG bunkering stations are needed across Greece and is moving forward with plans to construct a second LNG terminal.
Greece’s Public Gas Corporation is considering options for its $483m plan for a floating LNG terminal in the Kavala region in Northern Greece, strategically located in the axis of the TAP route from Turkey to Albania and Italy.
With several projects underway and government and shipowners considering their options the LNG market seems to be moving dynamically and into two different segments, the transformation of shipping fleets to run on LNG and the push to set up LNG bunkering terminals in the Aegean and Mediterranean seas.