Sines port could be platform to supply energy to Europe

  • Lusa
  • 30 May 2022

"Europe has revealed a great vulnerability from an energy point of view and Portugal has unique conditions to be a platform to supply energy to Europe," Portugal's prime minister considered.

The prime minister of Portugal said on Monday that “Germany needs gas,” and the supply through the port of Sines is an “offer that helps” Berlin but did not reveal whether Scholz showed interest in distributing gas from Portugal.

Speaking to journalists after visiting several national stands at the Hanover Messe industrial fair – which this year chose Portugal as a partner country – António Costa spoke about the dinner he had with German chancellor Olaf Scholz on Sunday night, which was closed to the media.

According to the prime minister, during the meal he had a “very long conversation” with Scholz about the “bilateral relations” between Portugal and Germany, but also “about the situation in Europe” and how the two countries “can cooperate together”.

“Europe has revealed a great vulnerability from an energy point of view and Portugal has unique conditions to be a platform to supply energy to Europe,” the prime minister considered.

However, António Costa did not reveal whether the German chancellor has shown interest with regard to the supply of natural gas from the port of Sines, similar to what the Polish prime minister, Mateusz Morawieck, did, who, during a visit by Costa to Poland on May 20, said his country was “interested in this type of cooperation with Portugal”.

Asked if Germany wants to receive the natural gas re-exported by Portugal, Costa replied, “No. Germany needs gas, full stop. If it also comes from the port of Sines, excellent, but what it needs basically is gas.”

“This is another offer that helps Germany, but not only Germany, it helps Poland, helps the Eastern European countries that have been highly dependent on Russian gas supplies and that we are all fighting against the clock to increase the independence of Europe as a whole from Russian gas,” he said.

The prime minister argued that in order to achieve that independence, Europe needs to “diversify sources and, on the other hand, diversify routes”.

“The more routes we have for energy supplies, the less we are dependent on one supplier, two suppliers, or three suppliers,” the prime minister stressed.

During a visit to Poland on May 20, Costa and his Polish counterpart considered the idea of energy supplies to Eastern European countries being made from the port of Sines to be viable, with Morawieck highlighting the logistical capabilities of his country’s port terminals in terms of reception and unloading.

On this point, he classified the interconnections between the Iberian Peninsula and the rest of Europe as a priority investment, not only to supply natural gas from the United States and Nigeria, but also, in the future, for national capacity to produce green hydrogen, “at low cost, benefiting from the facility in solar energy production.

“We need immediate answers: We are discussing with the Polish government, as well as with other European governments, the possibility of using the port of Sines as a transfer platform from large methane carriers to other medium and small vessels. These smaller vessels will have better operating conditions in the more congested areas of the North Sea and the Baltic,” specified the Portuguese prime minister.