By Steven Tagle
Greece and Bulgaria signed an agreement that finalized a natural gas transmission and storage system operator’s—Bulgartransgaz—participation in the Alexandroupoli Floating Storage Regasification Unit (FSRU), Aug. 24. FSRU is a U.S.-supported project that diversifies European energy sources and routes while creating new opportunities for economic and energy cooperation in the Balkans. This event advanced the U.S. strategic objective of ensuring diverse sources of natural gas for Southeastern Europe, creating new opportunities for U.S. companies to compete to sell liquefied natural gas in the region. Prime Minister of Greece Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Prime Minister of Bulgaria Boyko Borissov attended the signing ceremony, as did the U.S. Ambassador to Greece Geoffrey Pyatt and the U.S. Ambassador to Bulgaria Herro Mustafa.
Capitalizing on the event, Pyatt and Mustafa hosted a group of women leaders from the Greek energy sector following the signing. Secretary General for Energy and Natural Resources Alexandra Sdoukou, a participant in the Department of State’s 2019 International Visitor Leadership Program on U.S. energy policy, led the discussion with women experts from DEPA (Greece’s natural gas distributor), the Greek Ministry of Interior Affairs, and the private sector. The group discussed key energy issues and initiatives in the region and committed to increasing roles for women in the energy sector.
Pyatt highlighted the role that northern Greece plays as an energy hub and underlined Greece’s support for U.S. efforts to diversify energy supplies across the western Balkans.
“The great partnership between our embassies is key to the success of U.S. regional energy policy,” said Pyatt.
Mustafa shared her experience accompanying a senior Bulgarian delegation to the United States earlier this year to discuss energy diversification and liquid natural gas supply while advocating for the strengthening of women’s leadership roles and voices in this critical field. This event was part of the ongoing efforts of Embassy Athens and Embassy Sofia to engage and empower women leaders from various sectors of the economy.
Steven Tagle is the speechwriter at Embassy Athens.