Addition of Turkey’s Botas to Southern Corridor plan implied

Though not specifically named during yesterday’s Greek-Russian energy conference in Athens, Botas, Turkey’s state-run crude oil and gas company, may join Russia’s Gazprom, DEPA, the Greek Public Gas Corporation, and Italian energy firm Edison as a fourth partner in the Southern Corridor project, an extension of the Turkish Steam plan, to supply Russian natural gas to the wider region.

Other European countries are likely to also express an interest in the project, which would increase the chances of Brussels approving the plan.

DEPA chief executive Theodoros Kitsakos reminded conference participants that a three-party memorandum of understanding (MoU), involving Gazprom, DEPA and Edison, was signed last February. He noted that all studies, including cost studies, have been carried out, while also adding that a “fourth partner is likely to join in” as the Russian gas supply line will probably run through Turkey.

Kitsakos described the project’s plan as fully sustainable and respectful of EU principles. “We hope development begins in 2017 and that the project is completed between 2019 and 2020,” he remarked.

Energy minister Panos Skourletis noted that talks recently resumed on this prospective Russian gas supply channel to Europe, via Greece and Italy. “We believe the plan may serve the EU’s strategic objective of reinforcing energy security and offering competitive pricing,” Skourletis commented. “We consider the Russian government’s stance of wanting to promote the project only when EU regulations have been met, in order for it to proceed without interruption, as a very constructive approach,” he added.

The energy minister said the trio of partners, as a follow-up to February’s MoU, are now looking at solutions concerning source diversification and routes. “This discussion is expected to widen and involve other countries so that the project may represent part of the overall picture concerning European energy supply in the future,” Skourletis noted. “Forecasts indicate that energy needs will increase in Europe. Now is the time to shape the new plans that will effectively meet these future needs.”