Greek official’s 3-5bn euro gas pipeline deal claim denied by Moscow

Greece is set to sign an agreement with Russia, possibly even tomorrow, for the local segment of “Turkish Stream”, Russia’s latest natural gas pipeline proposal for supply to the EU from the south, in exchange for an advance payment of between three to five billion euros, German magazine Der Spiegel has reported, based on an alleged leak made by an unnamed Greek government official.

The prospect was also reported by Greek business newspaper Agora. However, Kremlin representative Dimitry Peskov has already denied that such a deal has been reached.

Greece is running out of time to service major debt repayments and still needs to persuade highly skeptical creditors of a credible reforms plan to secure another tranche of needed bailout funds.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras made an official visit to Moscow earlier this month, during which he expressed interest in the development of Russia’s latest natural gas pipeline proposal for supply to the EU via Greece and Turkey. If constructed, it would replace Russia’s preceding and indefinitely shelved plan, South Stream, which would have bypassed Ukraine and crossed the Black Sea to Bulgaria.

According to the reports, Greece will receive an advance payment for anticipated future profit to be generated for the country by the “Turkish Stream” pipeline.

Greek government officials were not available to comment on the Spiegel article, Reuters reported.

Peskov, the Kremlin representative, told Russian business news radio station Business FM that energy cooperation was obviously discussed during the Greek prime minister’s visit to Moscow but “Russia did not promise any financial support because nobody requested it.”

Commenting on the issue, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble noted he would be glad to see Greece sign an energy deal with Russia, while adding that the prospect would not resolve the country’s bailout problems.