How the Greek Energean came to become a pillar of Israel’s energy security

It arrived last week at another milestone in its activities in research and production. Its fourth drilling in Israel, this time in the Karish North deposit, began producing natural gas through the FPSO ‘Energy Power’ floating facility, thus following the Karish deposit that already produces quantities. In this way, and as it already has significant production in Egypt, Energean is made by the main players in the Eastern Mediterranean gas market and in the energy transition, and has already announced its plans for expansion into new markets, both geographically (as in Morocco) and technologically in CO2 storage. One first conclusion is that the time between the final investment decision and production in Karish North was only three years. This is particularly rapid growth, which is attributed on the one hand to the potential and commitment of Energean itself and to Israel’s regulatory regime on the other. On the contrary, particularly slow is the development of efforts in our own country, since hydrocarbon research is a case of decades without any production to date outside Prinos. However, the success of Energean in Israel was not overnight. The listed company in London focusing on gas had first to convince the government that it is able to carry out the projects and at the same time secure the necessary funding, proceeding to the largest public writing of an independent energy company in the history of the London Main Market and concluding agreements with some of the largest banking groups in the world. Thus, by making investments that reached $2.5 billion, it was gradually able to reach a totally modest gas production of 4.4 billion cubic metres last year and target 5.7 to 6.4 billion this year – a quantity greater than the total consumption in Greece. According to the company, it now covers the fuel needs of four private power stations in Israel through contracts it has signed. Notable is that Energean’s production continued even when the conflict with Hamas broke out. The Israeli government acknowledged the importance of Energean for domestic energy security, after preventing any shortages that would cost much for the local economy, but also intense political costs. Today the company covers about 50% of Israel’s gas needs. Contrary to what is happening in Israel, speeds in Greece are much slower. Even when the state moves on to the necessary steps, there are reactions that often lead to the courts resulting in long-term delays in projects. However, the CEO of Energean, Mathios Rigas in our country places great emphasis on CO2 storage (CCS) that will allow the heavy industry to reduce its emissions, with obvious benefits for its competitiveness and the environment. This is a technology that, while very widespread in America and, now, in Europe, is planned to be implemented for the first time in Greece, as Energean has carried out studies to exploit exhausted deposits in Prinos to store there quantities of CO2 from industries. The final investment decision on this project is expected to be taken early in 2025, but it also applies here that in the case of hydrocarbon surveys: that Greek bureaucracy and possible appeals may delay implementation. Mr Rigas stresses that this technology will allow industries to become greener, to form part of the solution to the fight against climate change and to ensure their sustainable course in the future. This is an order that most industries around the world now apply by investing either in the development of renewable energy sources at the same time as hydrocarbons, or in CCS to reduce emissions.

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