Date:

Share:

Energy Moves of Greece in the Context of the Russia-Ukraine War

Similar Posts

This post is also available in: Türkçe Русский

The “special military operation” launched by Russia against Ukraine on February 24, 2022 has shaken Europe the most in the field of energy. Because the fact that most countries in the European Union (EU) have been dependent on Russian natural gas in terms of energy for years has left the member states facing a difficult situation to get out of.

After Russia’s intervention in Ukraine, the EU faced the fact that its dependence on natural gas to Moscow constituted its own “weak spot”. The Kremlin, on the other hand, has used and continues to use this as a “blackmail material” because it knows the EU’s dependence on it for natural gas.

Greece, one of the countries that rely most on Russian natural gas in the EU, meets 40% of its natural gas needs from Russia in 2021, 70% of this was used in power generation.[1] In this respect, it does not seem possible for Greece to abruptly abandon Russian natural gas or to quickly find an alternative to its place, at least in the short term.

In addition to all these, Greece carried out activities to reduce its dependence on Russian natural gas after the Russia-Ukraine War. One of the most important examples of this is Greece’s move towards the Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) option. Athens launched the project of establishing LNG terminal in Alexandroupolis in May 2022. The terminal is expected to be ready in November 2023.[2] However given the specified date, it is unlikely to replace Russian natural gas for the coming months. Therefore, it can be predicted that the winter months will be difficult in Greece.

Especially after Russia’s intervention in Ukraine, Greece is trying to bring itself to the forefront on energy as an  transit hub. In fact, in July 2022, the Greece-Bulgaria Natural Gas Pipeline Interconnector was inaugurated between Greece and Bulgaria.“This isn’t just a gas pipeline, but a crucial South-North energy bridge.” Greek Prime Mnister Mitsotakis said during the inauguration.[3] Thus, Azerbaijani natural gas will be transported to Bulgaria through Greece. Therefore, it will be easy for Greece to put itself at the forefront as a center for reducing the EU’s energy dependence in the future.

As it will be remembered, in July 2022, Mohammed bin Salman, the crown Prince of Saudi Arabia visited Athens. This visit is notable in that it is the first official visit of the Crown Prince to an EU country after 2018. Moreover, on the occasion of the visit, the two countries also agreed on the implementation of an undersea data cable that will connect Europe and Asia.[4] As can be seen from the examples of Saudi Arabia and Bulgaria, Greece is trying to present itself as an energy bridge to the world with the projects.

As can be expected, the main agenda item of the talks during Greek Prime Minister Mitsotakis’ visit to Qatar in August 2022 was energy. Mitsotakis said that Greece, given its strategic location and infrastructure in the region, could serve as a bridge between Qatar and Europe and his country serve as an entry point to deliver energy to the European market through Alexandroupolis.[5]

It is necessary to focus on the statement of the Greek Prime Minister on Alexandroupolis. Alexandroupolis has recently come to the fore as the place where the United States (US) has increased its military presence. However, Greece wants to use Alexandroupolis in a multifaceted way. It has already started the LNG power plant project in Alexandroupolis for this purpose. Therefore, Alexandroupolis is not only in the military dimension for Greece, it is also wanted to be turned into a place that will gain strength in the fields of economy and energy.  From the point of view of the Athens administration, energy investments in Alexandroupolis and the military presence of the US are developments that will increase the geostrategic importance of the country.

On the other hand, on September 4, 2022, Greek Minister of Development and Investment Adonis Georgiadis called on the Greek people to seek alternative ways of heating, warning that the upcoming winter months will be much worse than in 1942, when the country was experiencing famine due to the Nazi occupation in the Second World War.[6] In other words, the Russia-Ukraine War had a shocking effect on Europe and Greece. This is evident from Georgiadis’ statements.

The war reveals the desperation of Europe in general and Greece in particular. It also reveals how difficult countries and international organizations that cannot ensure energy security and remain dependent on a state for energy are stuck in a difficult situation. Therefore, a difficult winter awaits Europe and Greece, and according to the severity of the winter, there is also a possibility that the EU may soften its attitude to Russia.

Consequently, although Greece has taken various steps to ensure its energy security, most of them took place in the aftermath of the Russia-Ukraine War. In other words, a certain amount of time is required for Athens to get positive results from the steps it has taken to ensure energy security. In addition to all these, Greece is trying to present itself as a bridge between Asia and Europe in its relations with both China and the Gulf countries. Therefore, it can be suggested that Mitsotakis will continue to raise the issue that the country serves as a “nexus” in his meetings with his interlocutors.


[1] “Greece Can Cope with Possible Russian Gas Disruptions Thanks To LNG-Minister”, Reuters, https://www.reuters.com/article/ukraine-crisis-greece-energy-idUSL8N2YL335, (Date of Accession: 05.09.2022).

[2] Harry Aposporis, “Launch of works on Alexandroupolis LNG terminal in Greece”, Balkan Green Energy News, https://balkangreenenergynews.com/launch-of-works-on-alexandroupolis-lng-terminal-in-greece-heralds-reduced-dependence-on-russian-gas-for-the-balkans/, (Date of Accession: 05.09.2022).

[3] “New Pipeline from Greece to Bulgaria Offsets Russian Gas Cut”, Associated Press, https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-greece-bulgaria-moscow-20079c6a7092ac12340569fe776e9f6b ,  (Date of Accession: 05.09.2022).

[4] “Saudi Crown Prince to Visit Greece to Sign Energy, Telecoms Deals”, Reuters, https://www.reuters.com/markets/deals/saudi-crown-prince-visit-greece-sign-energy-telecoms-deals-2022-07-22/, (Date of Accession: 05.09.2022).

[5] Tasos Kokkinidis, “Energy Dominates Talks Between Greek PM and Emir of Qatar”, Greek Reporter, https://greekreporter.com/2022/08/22/energy-dominates-talks-greek-pm-emir-qatar/, (Date of Accession: 05.09.2022).

[6] “Minister Urges Greeks to Seek Alternative Heating Ways”, Keep Talking Greece, https://www.keeptalkinggreece.com/2022/09/04/greece-atlernative-heating-ways-minister-poll/ , (Date of Accession: 06.09.2022).

Cemal Ege ÖZKAN
Cemal Ege Özkan, 2019 yılında Ankara Üniversitesi Dil ve Tarih-Coğrafya Fakültesi Tarih Bölümü’nden mezun olmuştur. Yüksek lisans derecesini, 2022 senesinde aynı üniversitenin Türk İnkılap Tarihi Enstitüsü Atatürk İlkeleri ve İnkılap Tarihi Anabilim Dalı’nda hazırladığı “Türk Siyasi Hayatında Selim Rauf Sarper ve Faaliyetleri” başlıklı teziyle almıştır. Hâlihazırda aynı enstitüde doktora eğitimine devam etmektedir. 2020-2021 yılları arasında Türk Tarih Kurumu Yüksek Lisans Bursiyeri olan Özkan, iyi derecede İngilizce bilmektedir.