The energy ministry on Wednesday denied that buried chemicals would further delay the construction of the LNG terminal at Vasiliko, saying that the area was cleaned up by May 2020 at the cost of €3.86 million.

The ministry’s statement was issued in reply to a report in daily Phileleftheros which said that the already-delayed LNG terminal faced further obstacles because of dangerous chemicals that needed to be cleared before construction could start.

The ministry said that the area had been used as a site for Hellenic Chemical Industries which closed in 1995 and their facilities were demolished in 2006-2007.

Under rules requiring restoration of the environment in the area, studies were carried out by the state. Some restoration work, as well as reinforcement of the coast so as to avert possible leakage of chemicals into the sea, was also done.

Moreover, as part of plans for the energy and industrial area in the Vasiliko area, the energy ministry carried out an environmental impact study which showed the presence of phospho-gypsum (a biproduct from the production of fertiliser from phosphate rock) in the area where Hellenic Chemical Industries was located.

In 2017, following the decision to create an LNG terminal at Vasiliko, an environmental impact study was carried out for the project. The permit given by the environment service in October 2017 stipulated, among others, that the phosphor-gypsum had to be cleared.

“Therefore, after consultations between all stakeholders it was decided that the public works department invite tenders to restore the area in line with the conditions set by the environmental opinion and the results of the relevant study of the labour inspection department,” the announcement said.

Th tender was awarded on May 30, 2019, and the work completed in May, 2020, at a total cost of €3.86m.

“Therefore, work to restore the area where the LNG terminal will be implemented as well as the reinforcement of the coastline have already been completed and will not delay the constriction of the terminal as stated in the newspaper report,” it concluded.