Ministers to discuss older matters as ‘Greek Stream’ stalls

Greek Stream, the local segment of Russia’s latest natural gas pipeline proposal for Europe’s southeast, was originally planned to be the main topic of a meeting in Moscow this week between Greece’s energy minister Panos Skourletis and his Russian counterpart Alexander Novak, but last week’s downing of a Russian SU 24 fighter jet by Turkish forces has placed Russia’s thoughts of developing the project on hold.

The prospective natural gas pipeline, unofficially dubbed both Greek Stream and Turkish Stream, has been envisioned to run from the Greek-Turkish border area and across 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, until last week’s Turkish attack on the Russian jet. Consequently, Russia’s latest gas pipeline proposal for the region may end up being shelved, just like its previous plan, South Stream.

Russian officials have already announced that the pipeline, as well as development of a Russian-backed nuclear station, will both be stalled in reaction to the Turkish attack.

As a result, Skourletis and Novak are now expected to focus on other matters that primarily concern electricity production, as well as natural gas supply matters that remain unresolved. These subjects were discussed at a recent Greek-Turkish working group in Athens as well as by a Greek-Russian interministerial committee in Sochi last week.

According to sources, Russian companies have already expressed interest in the development of energy projects in Greece, especially in the field of electricity production. Russian companies, interested in constructing new power stations and revamping exisiting facilities, have asked to be updated on tenders to be staged.