The agreement between EDA THESS and "MEL SA", a leading industry in Greece in the production of recycled cardboard, brings a historic high in the volumes of natural gas by 16.5 million Nm3 per year. EDA THESS, a pioneer in the energy sector with a multi-year upward course, acts as a catalyst in strengthening the country's economy and shaping developments in the natural gas market.
EDA THESS, develops its network based on its long-term strategic planning for the expansion of the use of natural gas for the benefit of energy-intensive industries, commercial and domestic consumers, taking into account primarily safety, efficiency and environmental protection.
MACEDONIAN PAPER MILLS (MEL) a member of the PAK GROUP B.V. group, is the only industrial unit that produces recycled cardboard in Greece with an annual production of coated cardboard amounting to 120,000 tons. It has state-of-the-art facilities and offers products and services applying the best practices of sustainable development, with the aim of saving resources and environmental upgrading. Its products are exported to more than 30 countries, while a significant part of the production is channeled to the Greek market.
On the occasion of the signing of the Contract for the industry’s Connection to the distribution network, a meeting was held between the CEO of MEL, Mr. Theocharis Dimitrios, the General Manager of EDA THESS, Mr. Bakouras Leonidas and executives of the two companies.
The Manager of Natural Gas Market Development, Mr. Stergiopoulos Michalis, stated that works will be completed within 2021. EDA THESS, by investing in modern infrastructure and cutting-edge technologies, guarantees the uninterrupted distribution of natural gas. The connection works of EDA THESS concerns the expansion of 5 km with a cross section of 10’’ of the steel Medium Pressure Natural Gas Distribution Network (19 bar), from the area of Ag. Athanasios in the Municipality of Chalkidona -Thessaloniki Prefecture, which has been included in the Company’s Development Program up to the facilities of MEL and includes the construction and installation of a distribution station.
MEL is expected to use natural gas in new cogeneration machines of electricity - heat with priority in the production of electricity with a total capacity of 19.5 MW, while in addition it will be used in the paper machine (hot air dryers) as well as in the heat-shrinkable packaging of final products. At the same time, in the cardboard coating section, MEL will replace the infrared radiation equipment it uses to dry the coated surface with gas dryers.
He pointed out that for the expansion of the distribution network and the supply of MEL facilities with natural gas, the Company is proceeding with an investment that will reach € 1.7 million, which will add value to the industry and the wider region.
In the context of Operational Independence, the Manager of Corporate Affairs, Ms. Stachtari Aikaterini, stressed to the contractors that, after the signing of the connection contract to EDA THESS’ network, in accordance with the provisions of Distribution Network Operation Code and with a view to ensuring equal treatment of Distribution Users, the contractor will choose at its own responsibility the Distribution User for the Supply contract.
Mr. Bakouras expressed his satisfaction as the largest connection to the natural gas network was signed in the 20-year course of the Company with the Macedonian Paper Mills Company. As he stated, "at EDA THESS we implement a targeted and clear strategy based on integrated planning, high expertise and consistency in our programming. "At the heart of this strategy is the development of infrastructure and the penetration of natural gas, achieving the reduction of energy costs."
Mr. Theocharis stated in this regard: "MEL, the largest paper industry in the Balkans and one of the largest industrial units in Northern Greece, celebrates its 53rd birthday this year, opening a new page in its history. A dream of decades came true, with the signing of a contract with EDA THESS, according to which within 2021 the natural gas pipeline will reach the factory. MEL intends to build in the meantime an electricity generation unit using natural gas, an investment amounting to 5 million € and will be covered with equity of the Company, without bank lending or community investments, and the support of PAK Group, where it belongs. From this new power plant with a capacity of 8.6MW per year, MEL will also use the released thermal loads in its production process and hopes to earn a total amount of more than 2 million € per year. This investment greatly strengthens MEL and will bring additional significant benefits to thousands of residents in the wider area, who will also make use of the gas network.
The management of MEL would like to deeply thank EDA THESS and personally its General Manager, Mr. Leonidas Bakouras, who even during the difficult period of the lock down did not hesitate to continue our negotiations, in order for this agreement to be finally completed, for the benefit of both companies and society as a whole".
The General Manager added that "EDA THESS achieves the development of the natural gas market, supporting the industrial sector and strengthening the economic recovery. We contribute catalytically to country’s the environmental sustainability and we are fully in line with the decisions of the State".