Energy ministers reshuffle Moscow meeting’s agenda

Energy Minister Panos Skourletis will meet with his Russian peer Alexander Novak in Moscow today, but the two officials will work through a reshuffled agenda as a result of the recent downing of a Russian SU 24 fighter jet by Turkish forces, which has stalled thoughts for development of ‘Turkish Stream”, Russia’s latest natural gas pipeline proposal for southeast Europe, involving both Greece and Turkey, and a top-priority item until the jet incident.

The prospective natural gas pipeline, unofficially dubbed both “Greek Stream” and “Turkish Stream”, depending on its segment, has been envisioned to cross Turkish territory to the Greek-Turkish border area and run through Greece’s north. Thoughts of utilizing ITGI, a pipeline project long endorsed by the European Commission and planned to cross the Adriatic Sea from Greece to Italy, as an extension of the Russian plan, had recently increased the likelihood of “Greek Stream” being developed through this route rather than a vertical Balkan crossing.

Although halting the project has not been included in Russia’s official sanctions against Turkey, it is now definitely on hold.

Today’s talks between the Greek and Russian energy ministers will now focus primarily on electricity production, while the exisiting gas supply agreement between DEPA, Greece’s Public Gas Corporation, and Russia’s Gazprom is also expected to be discussed. These topics were recently discussed at a Greek-Russian working group for energy matters in Athens, as well as by a Greek-Russian interministerial committee in Sochi.

According to sources, Russian companies have already expressed an interest to take part in the development of Greek energy projects, especially electricity production. Russian companies, believed to be keen to construct new units and revamp existing ones, have requested to be updated on tenders to be staged.