How natural gas brought Egypt and Greece closer

Feb 08, 2023 by Energy Connects
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Maria Rita Galli CEO of DESFA

Maria Rita Galli, CEO of DESFA, spoke exclusively to Julian Walker, Editor-in-Chief of Energy Connects, about the importance of Egypt’s natural gas for Greece and how the company is exploring opportunities in hydrogen.

How important is the Egyptian gas market to DESFA?

Egypt’s natural gas and energy market, in general, is of great interest to DESFA in the framework of the strategic partnership between Greece and Egypt, two countries with a key role for the security, stability and prosperity of the entire Eastern Mediterranean region.

Egypt is an important natural gas producer and, through DESFA’s Revithoussa LNG Terminal, a reliable and stable exporter of LNG in Greece and in the broader Southeast Region. In 2022, we have recorded an impressive increase in the quantities of LNG received from Egypt, which brings the country to the third place of the LNG exporters in the country. This development reflects the dynamic growth of Egypt's natural gas market and the role of its natural gas infrastructures to enable the resources of the East Mediterranean basin to reach the European and worldwide market. In that light and given the upgraded role of Greece as an energy import gateway to Southeast Europe, it is therefore of particular importance to further strengthen the energy interconnection of the two countries and deepen the cooperation with our Egyptian partners, considering opportunities of mutual benefit for Greece and Egypt, also looking at initiatives aimed at promoting the transition to a cleaner and more sustainable energy future.

The world faced a number of challenges last year – how DESFA cope?

The past year, marked by the war in Ukraine and the energy crisis, was undoubtedly one of the most challenging periods for the European and worldwide energy markets. It was a year that underlined in the most tangible way the need to find an unbiased and pragmatic balance between ensuring robust energy security and accelerating the energy transition, amidst a rapidly changing and increasingly unpredictable landscape. Within this landscape, DESFA responded with unprecedented speed and flexibility, adapting, and strengthening its infrastructure to enhance the security and diversification of gas supply of Greece and the wider region. More specifically, building on increased cooperation with our neighboring TSOs,  we responded to the needs of Bulgaria and other countries in Southeast Europe, by turning the Greek system from an import to an export one in the matter of few days at the end of April last year. As a result, in 2022, Greece increased 4,5 times the quantities of natural exported to Bulgaria and beyond (to c.a. 3,3 bcm/y - excluding exports of TAP to Italy) via a combination of increased LNG import capacity, expansion of both regassification and storage capacity of the Revithoussa LNG Terminal, the completion of new interconnections such as the ICGB pipeline in October 2022, as well as commercial innovation and flexibility. We have also accelerated our investment plan which in two years will quadruple our export capacity through  the new south to north transit corridors. One of the most critical lessons learned during this period is that of the critical importance of cooperation at all levels and at DESFA we have always believed in the value of cooperation and solidarity, for building the necessary “energy bridges” for the region.

What is DESFA doing around the development of the hydrogen market?

As the energy crisis did not only trigger the need for new energy flow patterns but also acted as an accelerator of the energy transition, we continued to explore opportunities and pilot projects on biomethane and H2, actively participating in the shaping of the renewable gases’ era. To that end, DESFA has recently completed a technical assessment of its system and its capability to transport hydrogen and natural gas blends. Moreover, all the new pipelines that we are constructing are already fully H2 certified, while the new Compressors Stations are designed to accept a 20% blending of H2 in natural gas.

In this way, we aim at progressively developing the necessary pipeline infrastructure to accept H2 volumes through a series of projects, both during the “blending phase” and trough the development of a “H2 Dedicated Pipeline”, which is already included in ENTSOG’s 2022 TYNDP, allowing Greece to form a vital part of “Corridor E: East and South-East Europe” of the European Hydrogen Backbone and thus play a key role both in energy security and the road to net zero.

In your opinion, how significant is it that EGYPS will be the first major energy show taking place after COP27?

The fact that EGYPS will be the first major energy event taking place after COP27 presents a great opportunity for the global industry leaders which will convene in Cairo to engage in a constructive dialogue on the Sharm el-Sheikh Implementation Plan and drive forward the conversation on how our industry can act for the acceleration of global action on climate mitigation and adaptation. The unprecedented global energy and climate crisis can be a historic turning point towards a cleaner and more secure future, if only we act now and collectively to lead the industry’s response to climate change, prioritising solutions that simultaneously enhance energy security while accelerating the transition towards a just, low-carbon future.

What are you looking to achieve at EGYPS 2023? What key themes are you looking forward to this year?

We are particularly glad for our participation in this year’s EGYPS, as it is a conference which sits at the heart of the African and Mediterranean gas and energy conversation and will allow us to meet our Egyptian partners and explore mutually interesting opportunities for deepening our cooperation, with a focus on the development of the necessary energy interconnections for the transfer of cleaner and increasingly green energy, such as hydrogen, from Egypt to Europe via Greece.


DESFA CEO Maria Rita Galli is speaking at the EGYPS 2023 Strategic Conference in Cairo on Tuesday 14 February, Decarbonising oil and gas sustainably – breaking down barriers through investment, innovation and technology.

Register today at

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