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Greece Photo News Athens Headlines
(Photo: AP / Yannis Kolesidis)
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Golden Dawn and the rise of the far right in Europe
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Magath defends Mitroglou signing
The Greece striker has failed to make an impact in the Premier League since his big-money move to London, but the Cottagers boss believes he can still play an important role | Fulham manager Felix Mag...
» >Greek publisher announces translation of 'Athens - The Truth'
» Body in Athens County creek is missing Pickerington Central grad
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» Holly Springs bounces back in overtime against Athens Drive girls soccer
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Greece is an important potential transit site for energy exports from the Caspian/Caucasus regions, with limited energy reserves of its own.

Note: Information contained in this report is the best available as of August 2005.

In recent years, Greece has enjoyed strong growth and low inflation. In 2005, however, Greece's economy is expected to experience a modest slowdown, with only 3 percent real GDP growth, down from 4.7 percent and 4.2 percent in 2003 and 2004, respectively. In 2004, Greece's unemployment rate was 10.5 percent.

One of the smallest economies in the European Union (EU), Greece became the twelfth member of the Eurozone in January 2001. In 2004, it was revealed that Greece's public finances had been greatly misreported as far back as 1997. In fact, had the true extent of its fiscal deficit been known, Greece would not have been allowed to adopt the euro in 2002. With its deficit reaching 6.1 percent of GDP in 2004 and estimated at 4.5 percent for 2005, Greece remains well above the 3 percent limit for Eurozone members. Although much of the deficit can be attributed to one-time spending in preparation for the 2004 Olympics, the fiscal corrections needed are substantial. The New Democracy (ND) party, which replaced the Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) government in March 2004, is intent on reform.

Since the mid-1990s, Greece has undertaken macroeconomic and structural reforms, including measures to reduce the size of the bureaucracy, expand privatization, and attract foreign investment. Both the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) have called for continued efforts in these areas. Although privatization of key utilities and industries has begun, these efforts are limited when compared to other Eurozone members.

Greatly improved relations between Greece and Turkey have allowed for more economic and energy cooperation. In March 2002, Greece and Turkey began discussions to resolve a decades-long disagreement over Aegean Sea boundaries. Greece has endorsed and supported Turkey's bid for EU membership since 1999. Greece, which is a major investor in the former Yugoslavia, is working to integrate its energy infrastructure with that of the Balkan states. Improved relations with neighboring states could help Greece achieve its goal of becoming a major regional energy hub.

According to January 1, 2005 estimates by the Oil and Gas Journal, Greece has oil reserves of just 7 million barrels. With domestic production of 6,411 barrels per day (bbl/d) in 2004, Greece relies heavily on imports -- primarily from Iran, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Libya and Egypt -- to meet its 429,000 bbl/d oil consumption. Oil is Greece's most important fuel source, accounting for approximately 63 percent of total energy consumption in 2003. Oil's market share is declining slowly, as natural gas becomes more important. By 2025, oil is expected to account for 57 percent of Greece's energy demand. Although the Middle East is expected to remain Greece's major oil supplier, oil from Russia and the Caspian Sea region will become more important as new pipelines are constructed.

Exploration and Production
Greece's oil industry is dominated by Hellenic Petroleum (HP), formed in 1998 from the state-owned Public Petroleum Corporation (PPC). HP conducts oil exploration, imports crude and petroleum products, operates four refineries, and distributes and markets petroleum products throughout Greece. The Greek state currently has a 27.48 percent holding in HP.

The Prinos fields in the Aegean Sea are Greece's main oil production area. The Prinos fields, which began production in 1986, were operated by the North Aegean Petroleum Company (NAPC) until the Greek firm, Kavala Oil, took over production in February 2001. In January 2004, UK-based Regal Petroleum found "considerable potential" for reserves to exceed estimates of 227 million barrels. Regal made plans to raise the field's production from 4,000 bbl/d to 15,000 bbl/d. In September 2004, Regal announced that the Greater Kallirachi field in the North Aegean Sea holds up to one billion barrels of light crude. In June 2005, however, Regal announced that its Kallirachi 2 exploration well had failed to produce commercial flows of oil. The company currently is working to target new well locations.

Burgas-Alexandroupolis Pipeline
In January 1997, Greece, Bulgaria and Russia agreed on plans to build a 178-mile, 700,000-bbl/d pipeline between the Bulgarian Black Sea port of Burgas and Alexandroupolis, Greece, allowing Russian and Caspian oil to bypass Turkey's congested Bosporus Straits. After years of stalling over technical and economic issues, an intergovernmental memorandum of understanding was signed in April 2005. According to Greece's development ministry, Greece could profit between $30 and $50 million from the pipeline.

Other Pipelines
Since 2002, HP has operated a 143-mile pipeline from Thessaloniki to HP's Okta refinery near Skopje, Macedonia. The pipeline is managed by a Greek-Macedonian consortium.

As of January 1, 2005, Greece has a refining capacity of 401,400 bbl/d. Seventy five percent of this capacity is accounted for by HP's three refineries: Aspropyrgos (134,900 bbl/d), Elefsis (100,000 bbl/d) and Thessaloniki (66,500 bbl/d). The private refinery operated by Motor Oil (Hellas) in Corinth has a 100,000-bbl/d capacity.

HP has a nearly 24 percent share in the Greek retail oil market, making it the largest company in the market. HP operates an extensive network of gasoline stations across Greece under the trademarks EKO, ELDA and M (MAMIDAKIS), as well as storage and supply terminals. In 2003, HP purchased 200 gasoline stations in Albania, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Romania, and Serbia to be operated under the EKO Hellenic Petroleum brand name. In January 2004, EKO Hellenic announced plans to build 40 additional stations in Bulgaria.

greek energy consumptionWith reserves of only 35 billion cubic feet (Bcf), Greece produces negligible amounts of natural gas. Consumption, however, has increased significantly, from only 1 Bcf in 1996 to 86 Bcf in 2003, and is expected to continue to increase -- possibly tripling over the next ten years. Greece receives over two-thirds of its natural gas imports from Russia, with the remainder coming from Algeria. Greece would like to diversify its natural gas sources to countries such as Iran and Azerbaijan through new pipeline projects, including the South Caucasus Gas Pipeline and the planned Interconnector Turkey and Greece (ITG).

In June 2005, the governments of Greece and Italy signed an agreement to construct an undersea natural gas pipeline between the two countries. The 497-mile pipeline with a capacity of 253 Bcf per year could enter into service in 2010. It is to be built by Poseidon, a joint venture of Greece's state-owned energy group DEPA and the Italian energy group Edison.

Market Liberalization
The Greek natural gas industry is controlled by the state-owned Greek Public Gas Company (DEPA), which was created in 1988. HP and the Greek government currently own 35 percent and 65 percent of DEPA, respectively. In March 2004, Spain's Gas Natural (GN) agreed to purchase 35 percent of the government's share of DEPA, contingent on approval of the contract by Greece's new government. Such a move would reduce the state's holding in DEPA to a minority interest. DEPA's largest customer, Public Power Corporation, also has the option to acquire a 30 percent share of the company.

DEPA began importing natural gas from Russia via Bulgaria in July 1997. Greece has a 20-year contract with Russia's Gazexport (a subsidiary of Gazprom) to purchase approximately 99 Bcf of natural gas per year. It will expire in 2016. Prometheus Gas, which is jointly owned by Gazexport and Greece's Copelouzos Group, has a contract to import Russian gas in excess of what is imported by DEPA.

Greek/Turkish Cooperation
In July 2000, Greece and Turkey agreed to develop connections between their natural gas networks. Currently, the two countries are working with the EU-sponsored Interstate Oil Gas Transport to Europe (INOGATE) project, which provides technical assistance to modernize oil and gas transport in central Europe and Asia.

In July 2005, construction began on the Turkey-Greece natural gas pipeline. The 186-mile pipeline will run between Karacabey, Turkey (near Bursa) and Komotini, Greece, with a possible future connection to the Greece-Italy pipeline. It will transport 124 Bcf per year of natural gas initially and up to 406 Bcf per year at a later stage.

In December 2003, Greece agreed to buy Azeri gas from Turkey through the proposed Interconnector Turkey and Greece pipeline (ITC) from Ankara, Turkey to Alexandroupolis, Greece. Reportedly, the 177-mile-long pipeline would supply around 18 Bcf of gas per year starting in 2006 and would cost around $250 million. The pipeline may eventually be linked with the South Caucasus Gas Pipeline connecting Turkey to Azerbaijan and the proposed underwater link to Italy as part of the Southern Europe Gas Ring project.

Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG)
In 1999, Greece entered a 21-year contract to purchase 24 Bcf of liquefied natural gas (LNG) each year from Algeria's Sonatrach. Greece has one LNG terminal at Revithoussa, near Athens, with a capacity of 23 Bcf per year. DEPA is studying the possibility of expanding the capacity of the Revithoussa terminal. Kavala, in northern Greece, has also been considered as a site for a new LNG terminal.

Lignite ("brown coal") is Greece's only significant fossil fuel resource, with reserves totaling 4,299 million short tons (Mmst). The largest deposits are at Ptolemais and Amintaio, in northern Greece. As Greece has no hard coal reserves, this fuel is imported from South Africa, Russia, Venezuela, and Colombia. Domestic production has been partly opened to private companies, but the Public Power Corporation (PPC) remains the largest producer with the right to exploit 63 percent of known reserves. In 2004, the European Commission warned the Greek government that PPC's extensive mining rights could be preventing further liberalization of the Greece's electricity market.

greek energyIn 2003, Greece generated 54.6 billion kilowatthours (Bkwh) of electricity, of which approximately 74 percent was thermal, 23 percent was hydroelectric and 3 percent was solar. Although most of the thermal energy is lignite-fired, some is oil-fired. The majority of new plants will be gas-fired. Electricity demand has grown nearly 50 percent over the last decade, which, according to the Energy Regulatory Authority, RAE, will require some 6,000 megawatts (MW) of additional capacity to guarantee adequate supply through 2015. Athens and parts of southern Greece experienced blackouts in July 2004.

Market Liberalization
The majority state-owned Public Power Corporation (PPC) controls Greece's electric production, transmission, and distribution. In compliance with an EU electricity directive, 35 percent of the Greek power market was opened to competition in February 2001, with shares of PPC offered on the Athens stock exchange in December 2001, December 2002 and October 2003. As of December 12, 2004, the Greek state's share in PPC has been reduced to approximately 51 percent.

Since PPC lost its legal monopoly, the Greek government has issued licenses for over 2,750 MW of private thermal generating plants. However, most private producers have been unable to finance plants. As a result, PPC still produced 96 percent of Greece's electricity in 2004. Greece is not expected to have a liberalized electricity market until 2006 or 2007.

Cooperation with Neighboring States
Greece's power network is currently connected with the networks of Albania, Macedonia, and Bulgaria. In June 2001, energy ministers from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Greece, Macedonia, and Romania signed a memorandum for the creation of a competitive regional electricity market (REM) with over 55 million customers by 2005-2006. As the only member of the EU in this cooperation, Greece hopes to be a link between a southeast European energy network and the EU energy market. In July 2002, Greece and Italy completed a 500-MW link under the Ionian Sea to connect their national power grids.

Improved Greek-Turkish relations also have benefited Greece's electricity sector. In January 2000, a Greek-Turkish-American (Copelouzos-Gama-ExxonMobil) consortium announced plans to construct a gas-fired power plant in Greece. The plant will have a capacity between 400 MW and 600 MW. In March 2002, Greece and Turkey signed a bilateral agreement to connect their electricity grids along the Greek-Turkish border by 2006. Electricity will be exported via a new 400-kilovolt (kV) transmission line to be constructed between Filippoi (Greece) and Hamidabad (Turkey).

To meet European Union mandates, renewable electricity generation projects are on the rise in Greece. The Centre for Renewable Energy Sources (CRES), supervised by the Development Ministry, was created in 1987 to promote renewable energy. RAE has approved projects that would expand the installed capacity from renewables by 1,800 MW; however, many of these projects have been stalled as a result of local opposition due to the large amount of land the projects necessitate.

CRES estimates that 15 percent of the country's electricity needs can be produced by wind farms, with installed wind-power capacity possibly expanding from 330 MW to 2,000 MW by 2010. Wind farms are already located on the Greek islands of, Crete, Evia, Andros, and Samos.

Although the use of solar technology in Greece has tripled in the last three years, an EU report, "Photovoltaics 2010," had indicated that Greece could use solar power to meet one-third of its energy requirements. A 50-MW solar power plant, the first grid-connected solar system of a considerable size, is planned for Crete and a 100-kilowatt PV park is planned for the island of Gavdos.

Greece maintains the second-largest number of solar-collectors in Europe (after Germany). Twenty percent of households use solar water heaters. In August 2004, ECO/SUN installed the largest rooftop solar-energy unit in Athens. Located atop a German school in the Greek capital, the 33-kilowatt unit is predicted to prevent the city from emitting over 24 tons of carbon dioxide each year.

President: Konstantinos "Kostis" Stephanopoulos; since May 5, 1995
Prime Minister: Prime Minister Konstandinos Karamanlis (New Democracy); since March 2004
Independence: 1829 (from the Ottoman Empire)
Population (2005E): 11.3 million
Location/Size: Southern Europe, bordering the Aegean, Ionian and Mediterranean Seas/ 131,940 sq. km. (51,146 sq. mi); roughly the size of Alabama
Major Cities: Athens (capital), Thessaloniki, Piraeus, Patras
Languages: Greek (official), English, French
Ethnic Groups: Greek (98%); other (2%)
Religion: Greek Orthodox (98%); Muslim (1.3%); other (0.7%)

National Economy and Finance Minister: Giorgios Alogoskoufis
Currency: Euro
Market Exchange Rate (7/18/05): US$1 = 0.8304 Euro
Nominal Gross Domestic Product (2004E): $204 billion (2005F): $218 billion
Real GDP Growth Rate (2004E): 4.2% (2005F): 3.0%
Unemployment Rate: (2004E): 10.5% (2005F): 9.4%
Inflation Rate (2004E): 2.9% (2005F): 3.3%
Major Trading Partners: Germany, Italy, other OECD Europe
Major Export Products: Manufactured goods, food and beverages, petroleum products
Major Import Products: Manufactured consumer goods, capital goods, crude oil, food products
Merchandise Exports (2004E): $13.2 billion
Merchandise Imports (2004E): $53.2 billion
Merchandise Trade Balance (2004E): - $40.0 billion
Current Account Deficit as a % of GDP (2004E): 4.8% (2005F): 3.4%

Minister of Development: Dimitris Sioufas
Proven Oil Reserves (1/1/05E): 7 million barrels
Oil Production (2004E): 6,411 barrels per day (bbl/d), of which 2,836 bbl/d was crude oil
Oil Consumption (2004E): 429,000 bbl/d
Net Oil Imports (2004E): 421,589 bbl/d
Crude Oil Refining Capacity (1/1/05E): 401,400 bbl/d
Major Crude Oil Import Sources: Persian Gulf, OPEC, Russia, Libya, Egypt
Natural Gas Reserves (1/1/05E): 35 billion cubic feet (Bcf)
Natural Gas Production (2003E): 1.0 Bcf
Natural Gas Consumption (2003E): 86 Bcf
Coal Reserves (2003E): 4,299 million short tons (all lignite)
Coal Production (2003E): 75.3 million short tons (Mmst)
Coal Consumption (2003E): 76.0 Mmst
Electric Generation Capacity (2003E): 10.3 gigawatts
Net Electricity Generation (2003E): 54.6 billion kilowatthours (Bkwh)

Minister of Environment, Land Planning, and Public Works: Giorgos Souflias
Total Energy Consumption (2003E): 1.42 quadrillion Btu* (0.3% of world total energy consumption)
Energy-Related Carbon Dioxide Emissions (2003E): 104.30 million metric tons (0.4% of world total carbon dioxide emissions)
Per Capita Energy Consumption (2003E): 129.6 million Btu (vs U.S. value of 339.9 million Btu)
Per Capita Carbon Dioxide Emissions (2003E): 2.6 metric tons (vs U.S. value of 5.4 metric tons of carbon)
Energy Intensity (2002E): 7,814 Btu/ $ 1995-PPP (vs U.S. value of 9,344 Btu/ $ 1995-PPP)**
Carbon Intensity (2002E): 0.59 metric tons of carbon/thousand $ 1995-PPP (vs U.S. value of 0.55 metric tons of carbon/thousand $ 1995-PPP)**
Fuel Share of Energy Consumption (2003E): Oil (63.3%), Coal (25.7%), Natural Gas (6.1%), Other (4.3%)
Fuel Share of Carbon Emissions (2003E): Oil (62.0%), Coal (33.6%), Natural Gas (4.5%)
Status in Climate Change Negotiations: Annex I country under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (ratified August 4th, 1994). Under the negotiated Kyoto Protocol (signed on April 29th, 1998, ratified along with EU in May 2002), Greece has agreed to limit greenhouse gas increase to 25 percent above 1990 levels by the 2008-2012 commitment period. Within the EU, each country has a different commitment.
Major Environmental Issues: Air pollution and water pollution.
Major International Environmental Agreements: A party to Conventions on Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Sulphur 94, Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94 and Wetlands. Has signed, but not ratified, Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds.

* The total energy consumption statistic includes petroleum, dry natural gas, coal, net hydro, nuclear, geothermal, solar, wind, wood and waste electric power. The renewable energy consumption statistic is based on International Energy Agency (IEA) data and includes hydropower, solar, wind, tide, geothermal, solid biomass and animal products, biomass gas and liquids, industrial and municipal wastes. Sectoral shares of energy consumption and carbon emissions are also based on IEA data.
**GDP based on CIA World Factbook estimates based on purchasing power parity (PPP) exchange rates.

Organization: Hellenic Petroleum, DEPA, Public Power Corporation
Major Refineries (capacity - bbl/d, 1/1/05E): HP Aspropyrgos (134,900), Motor Oil (Hellas) Corinth (100,000), HP Elefsis (100,000), HP Thessaloniki (66,500)
Major Ports: Piraeus, Thessaloniki, Patras

Sources for this report include: CIA World Factbook; Dow Jones News wire service; Economist Intelligence Unit ViewsWire; Financial Times; Global Insight; Oil and Gas Journal; Petroleum Economist; International Market Insight Reports; Global Power Report; CNN Interactive; National Trade Data Bank; Petroleum Intelligence Weekly; Platt's Oilgram News; U.S. Energy Information Administration; World Gas Intelligence; World Markets Energy.

For more information on Greece, see these other sources on the EIA web site:
EIA Data for Greece
European Union Fact Sheet

Links to U.S. government other sites:

CIA World Factbook, Greece
U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Fossil Energy's International section, Greece
U.S. Department of State Consular Information Sheet, Greece
U.S. Embassy and U.S. Information Agency, Athens, Greece

The following links are provided solely as a service to our customers, and therefore should not be construed as advocating or reflecting any position of the Energy Information Administration (EIA) or the United States Government. In addition, EIA does not guarantee the content or accuracy of any information presented in linked sites.

Centre For Renewable Energy Sources (CRES)
EarthTrends: Greece Country Profile Government
Greek Connection
Helapco: Hellenic Association of Photovoltaic Companies
Hellenic Petroleum (HP)
Motor Oil (Hellas)
Nationmaster: Greece Government Profile
Prometheus Gas
Public Gas Corporation (DEPA)