"Gazprom" to build gas pipeline infrastructure in Greece

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"Gazprom" has guaranteed that after the "Turkish stream" is constructed, 47 bln. cubic meters of gas will flow through Greece per year. Such a guarantee should help the country find € 2 bln. to finance the construction. According to experts, "Gazprom" may finance laying of the pipes by itself. And besides, it can pay an advance of about € 5 bln. for the future transit. But this issue will be particularly discussed.

"Gazprom" will build infrastructure for the gas pipeline "Turkish stream" in Greece, said the Russian monopoly on Tuesday. This is the result of the negotiations between the head of "Gazprom" Alexey Miller and Prime Minister of Greece Alexis Tsipras. In addition, the former guaranteed at least 47 bln. cubic meters of gas transit annually.

Transit guarantees may help Greece "attract external funding for other projects," states the press release of the Russian company.

We are talking about the "Turkish stream", which replaced the abandoned "South Stream" project. The European Commission insisted that the "South Stream" didn`t comply with the anti-monopoly legislation of the European Union, according to which one company can`t own transport capacity and supply energy (the EU Third Energy Package). As a result, "Gazprom" announced that it abandoned the South Stream project at the beginning of December 2014, but agreed to cooperate with Turkey in constructing the pipeline of the same capacity (63 bln. cubic meters per year) across the Black Sea and the Turkish territory to the Turkish-Greek border. And this is where the difficulty lies – there`s no need in the infrastructure for receiving gas from the "Turkish stream" in Europe, especially in Greece."

The Russian-European consortium will finance the construction of a new pipeline in Greece, Miller and Tsipras agreed on Tuesday. The budget of the project is estimated at € 2 bln.

When Miller visited Greece, the agreement wasn`t signed, even though it had been expected. The parties plan to sign a memorandum in the near future, assured the Greek Minister of Energy Panagiotis Lafazanis. According to the Minister, Greece is interested in the pipeline, because it will "benefit greatly" from it.

According to German Spiegel-Online quoting a Greek high official, the agreement may also provide for Russia`s paying an advance of € 3-5 bln. for the future transit of gas.

The release doesn`t specify the members of the consortium, but Miller noted that a number of European companies took interest in the project.

There are two ways to deliver gas further to Europe, says the head of the National Energy Security Fund (NESF) Konstantin Simonov: the route to the border with Macedonia and then through Serbia and Hungary to the gas hub in Baumgarten, Austria. "And a more realistic option is partial recovery of the pipeline project ITGI (Interconnector Turkey-Greece-Italy, which was abandoned as early as in 2012) through Italy and then to the same Baumgarten, says the expert. And we already have a shareholder here - Edison (the Italian subsidiary of the French Electricite de France, which dealt with ITGI from the very beginning)."

Earlier, the Greek DEPA also participated in the ITGI project. Now, if the project is restarted, says Simonov, it may be of interest to the former "South Stream" project members: EDF, Italian Eni and German Wintershall.

"Gazprom" can`t acts as a shareholder in the consortium because of the same Third Energy Package. Miller stressed that the project would be implemented in Greece in full compliance with the European legislation.

"Gazprom" may act as a creditor. "And it is not excluded that it will be "Gazprom" which will fully finance not only the Greek infrastructure, but also the pipeline construction in European countries," notes the head of the NESF.

Text and pictures by GAZETA.RU