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Tuesday, 14 March 2023

Egypt + Greece are choosing who will do the feasibility study for the EuroAfrica electricity link

Egypt, Greece to select a consultant for EuroAfrica electricity interconnector: Egypt and Greece are in the process of selecting a consultant to conduct feasibility studies for the USD 4 bn EuroAfrica Interconnector that will link their electricity grids, Asharq Business reports, citing three sources it says are familiar with the matter. The consultant will assess the finances, technical implementation, and the cable’s route before a final investment decision is made and construction contracts are signed.

The candidates: More than 10 energy consulting firms are in the running, including French EDF, Belgium-headquartered Elia Grid, Italy’s CESI, Norwegian-German firm DNV, Germany’s Lahmeyer, Ireland’s ESB, and 4 other unnamed firms that hail from Greece, Belgium, China, and the US.

What’s next? The state is expected to sign agreements with a consultant sometime during 2H 2023, a source at the Electricity Ministry told us yesterday.

Why the delay? The devaluation of EGP has prompted a re-study of the project’s costs, our source tells us, pointing towards import issues — thanks to our backlogged ports — and global disturbances as other factors behind the delay. The EuroAfrica interconnector is among a slew of infrastructure projects in Egypt that have been held back by exchange-rate volatility.

Background: The Greece-Egypt connection is part of the wider USD 4 bn, 3-GW EuroAfrica project that will link the electricity grids of Egypt, Greece, and Cyprus.

EuroAfrica is just one of three Egypt-Greece interconnectors on the table: Another two direct Egypt-Greece links are being discussed: the 3-GW Greece-Egypt Interconnector (GREGY) being managed by Greek infrastructure investor Copelouzos, and the 2-GW Greece–Africa Power Interconnector (GAP), on which US contractor McDermott is taking the lead.

Why the dash for Egyptian electricity? The war in Ukraine and the severing of Europe’s gas links with Russia has forced the EU to go in search of new sources of energy. Egypt is in close proximity to Europe, has huge potential for solar- and wind-power generation and already generates surplus electricity, making it a potentially important partner for the EU as it looks to bolster its energy security in the coming years.

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