Forgotten ITGI gas pipeline project ‘now back in the picture’

Wider regional energy developments have restablished the prospect of a Greek-Italian ITGI pipeline, Spyros Paleogiannis, CEO at DEPA, the Public Gas Corporation, remarked yesterday, confirming a previous energypress report on the forgotten project’s increased chances for revival.

The ITGI project, planned to link the Greek and Italian pipeline networks, was sidelined after Azerbaijan opted for the TAP (Trans Adriatic Pipeline) project to carry the country’s natural gas supply to central Europe, via northern Greece, Albania, and across the Adriatic to Italy.

However, besides Russia’s current interest to develop a new pipeline in southeast Europe for supply of its own natural gas to central Europe through a similar route, other ongoing developments – such as the anticipated return of Iran to international energy trade following the likely end of western-imposed sanctions, expected to be lifted early next year, as well as possible natural gas supply to the area from Iraq, Turkmenistan, and the southeast Mediterranean, through the prospective East Med pipeline – have all brought back the ITGI plan as a real prospect, Paleogiannis noted.

The ITGI project could be linked with Russia’s latest pipeline plan for southeast Europe, informally dubbed “Turkish Stream”, planned to run west to Italy via the Greek-Turkish border region.

Late last month, as energypress had reported, Gazprom’s CEO Alexey Miller traveled to Milan for a meeting with Edison’s managing director Bruno Lescoeur. The two officials and deputies discussed southern corridor developments and Russia’s plan to supply natural gas to central Europe via Greece and Italy.

Russia appears to be abandoning a pipeline plan for supply to central Europe via a vertical route running through Greece, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (Fyrom), Serbia and Hungary following various problems encountered, and instead focusing its interest on the supply route through Greece and Italy.

The ITGI plan has already been granted an EU permit and construction could “begin tomorrow morning,” as Paleogiannis pointed out. However, Russia and Turkey would need to resolve their differences on “Turkish Stream”.

The developments are being viewed favorably by the Greek government and its energy ministry as they promise to significantly Greece’s geopolitical standing.