Gazprom CEO’s comments revive ITGI pipeline prospects

Presenting Russia’s latest positions on gas exports to the European Union, Gazprom’s CEO Alexey Miller has underlined that the EU needs to move fast and develop gas supply infrastructure so as to be able to receive gas from a hub along the Greek-Turkish borders.

The chief executive’s announcement comes following a series of talks and an agreement between Turkey and Russia for a new South Stream project, whose new route is envisaged to run vertically across the Black Sea towards Turkey and supply gas to Europe via a hub along the Greek-Turkish borders.

Such a Russian plan promises to reshape the region’s gas pipeline network, as had also been the case with the announcement of the TAP (Trans Adriatic Pipeline) project, to carry natural gas from Azerbaijan to Europe, via Greece, Albania, and the Adriatic Sea. At present, the TAP project is the region’s only major pipeline project whose development is underway.

Greece’s political shape, currently fluid as a result of the overall uncertainty and upcoming snap elections, may affect the region’s pipeline context. The main opposition leftist Syriza party, ahead in the polls, insists it will renegotiate the TAP agreement to strengthen the Greek State’s control.

The Gazprom head’s remarks revive the prospects of other projects rivaling the TAP venture, such as the Greek-Italian ITGI pipeline, a joint venture involving DEPA, the Public Gas Corporation, and Italy’s Edison. Initially planned to transmit Azeri gas to Europe, the sidelined project could, under certain circumstances, be revised to transfer Russian gas to Greece and other parts of Europe.