ATHENS, May 31 (Reuters) - Bulgarian state energy holding company BEH and Greek natural gas company Gastrade have set up a joint task force to prepare a proposal to build an off-shore liquefied natural gas (LNG)terminal in northern Greece, Gastrade said on Tuesday.
Greece currently has one LNG terminal on an islet off Athens and Gastrade, part of Greek energy group Copelouzos, is planning a second LNG terminal near the northern city of Alexandroupolis.
The task force will prepare and submit a proposal to the Bulgarian government for the best possible way to take part in the project, Gastrade said in a statement.
The facility, with an estimated annual capacity of 6.1 billion cubic metres (bcm), will seek to supply gas to southeastern Europe via another natural gas pipeline scheme that will cross through Greece, the Interconnector Greece-Bulgaria (IGB). Bulgaria and Greece signed the final investment agreement for the pipeline last year.
The IGB and the LNG terminal fit with the construction of the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) which will transport Caspian gas to European markets and was signed off by Greece and its partners this month.
The Alexandroupolis terminal is expected to cost about 370 million euros ($413 million) and is expected to be operational at the end of 2018, an official at Gastrade told Reuters.
Cheniere Energy, a U.S-based liquefied natural gas (LNG) exporter, is interested in a minority stake in the LNG project, a senior company official said last year. ($1 = 0.8967 euros) (Reporting by Angeliki Koutantou, editing by David Evans)