Demetrios Papacostas

GENERAL MANAGER OF EDA ATTIKIS

Greece 2019  I  Energy  I  Leader

BIOGRAPHY graduated in mechanical engineering by the Lehigh University in Pennsylvania, he has a proven record of success in directing business operations and development. Strong background in energy, petrochemical, industrial, construction, and defense sectors. expertise in corporate governance, business planning, marketing, project management, contract negotiations, industrial plant and equipment maintenance.

“WITH 7,000 PROFESSIONALS AND 200 LARGE CONSUMERS, WE HAVE BUILT 3,500KM OF A NETWORK THAT SERVES 53 MUNICIPALITIES.”

WITH THE LIBERALIZATION OF THE ENERGY MARKET, EDA ATTIKIS HAS BECOME A DISTRIBUTION COMPANY. CAN YOU TELL US MORE ABOUT THE COMPANY’S HISTORY?

 

Natural gas has been introduced in Greece late 80’s and beginning of 90’s, through the pipeline that came from Russia, and then it was expanded throughout the country. Later on, we have two more entry points: one from Turkey and the Revithoussa LNG terminal, based on an island outside of Athens. In 2001, Royal Dutch Shell won the tender and started to build the network to distribute and market natural gas in the wider Athens area. Shell and another American company had 49 percent of the shares and 51 percent belonged to DEPA, the state-owned national gas company that was responsible for transporting the natural gas in Greece. In 2017, the company was split up in two: EDA Attikis as the distribution company and another company as a provider. With the natural gas retail market’s liberalization, the Government has given up to forty licenses, yet to this day only 16 are active, so we expect more companies will enter the market.

 

We don’t sell natural gas to consumers directly, our responsibility is to build, expand, maintain, and operate the gas network. The more we grow, the more customers we have, and consequently, the more natural gas flows through the pipelines. For about one year, our company has been going through this transformation to abide by new regulations, laws and follow free market concepts. In the last couple of years, EDA Attikis invested heavily on network expansion in the Attica region extending the medium/low pressure Natural Gas Network to nearly 3,500 km, supplying 53 municipalities through 125,000 delivery points, serving 7,000 professionals, 210 industrial customer buildings and reaching over 350,000 households. 

 

As a large international petroleum company, Royal Dutch Shell has brought many advantages to our company’s operations. We have implemented strict procedures according to international standards, with emphasis on safety, and transparency. Today, we follow Shell’s models of governance and all standards of safety and operations, which are essential for our company’s success.

 

THE NATURAL GAS MARKET IN GREECE IS GROWING RAPIDLY. HOW EDA ATTIKIS IS ADAPTING TO THE NEW DEMAND?

 

Our main priorities are to reduce our costs and continue with our expansion, cooperating closely with municipalities interested in natural gas. We increased our customer base by 25 percent during the last two years and plan to double by 2025, which means that in five or six years we will do more than we did for the last 20 years, a real success story. As a result of our ambitious plan, we had a record increase in our profits that were 82 percent higher if compared to last year.

 

“OUR INVESTMENTS HAVE A MULTIPLIER EFFECT WITH EVERY EURO OF OUR REVENUE REPRESENTING SEVEN EUROS IN THE ECONOMY.”

 

We have been preparing ourselves for this rapid expansion and have stress tested the company for the last two years. From an average of 5,000-6,000 new connections every year, we are now above 14,000 connections with the same budget and number of people. Our strategy is to expand to regions that still don’t have natural gas and densify our existing network. We used to have 27 percent penetration two years ago, and now we are up to 35 percent.

 

Natural gas is the cleanest fossil fuel energy source available and is also cheaper than other alternatives. A house with natural gas will reduce heating expenses by 30 to 40 percent, for example. These aspects make natural gas to be increasingly demanded by the population and unfortunately, we cannot serve them all. We have been working outside of our core responsibilities to help develop new local contractors that could build our network. We don’t have enough in Greece, and unfortunately, during the crisis period, some of them have disappeared. Our investments have a clear multiplier effect in the local communities creating a wave of development. We receive a constant flow of requests by mayors to bring natural gas to their cities and we are doing our best to expand our network as much as we can.

 

YOU HAVE AN EXTENSIVE EXPERIENCE IN THE AEROSPACE, DEFENSE, AND ENERGY SECTORS. IN YOUR OPINION, WHAT IS THE ROLE GREECE WILL PLAY REGIONALLY IN THE ENERGY SECTOR?

 

I believe Greece can become a regional energy hub and also a significant energy producer. Our strategic location is essential and the regional political situation is a challenge. Greece has major natural gas reserves which should be explored within the next five to ten years. This will have real power in transforming the country’s economy.

 

We are doing our part at EDA Attikis being very active in the local communities where we operate. Our investments have a multiplier effect with Every euro of our revenue representing seven euros in the economy. Our team is very motivated and inspired to do better. We are always trying to find out new products, new ways of working together, of cooperating with our contractors and our suppliers.