Revised ‘Greek Stream’ plan to be sought within 2016

Officials at Gazprom, Edison, and DEPA, Greece’s Public Gas Corporation have told energypress that they are now preparing a second step towards reviving the “Greek Stream” project – intended to supply Russian natural gas to Europe via the south – following last week’s signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for the development of the stalled ITGI natural gas pipeline to link Greece and Italy and serve as a route for Russian gas supply to Europe through the Southern Corridor.

As part of the plan’s second stage, the officials will seek to determine a route passing through Bulgaria for the “Greek Stream” project.

Authorities closely involved with the project have noted that much will depend on how Russian-Turkish bilateral ties play out. Bulgarian territory is now being considered as an alternative for the Russian gas pipeline’s route as a result of the troubled ties between Russia and Turkey. Should these two countries resolve their differences, the Bulgarian alternative could be abandoned, but this seems highly unlikely at present.

A date for the next meeting between Gazprom, Edison, and DEPA officials has yet to be set. Technocrats will meet to focus on details such as natural gas quantities to be supplied through the pipeline, cost and financing issues that may ensure the project’s sustainability, as well as the  geographical route. The three companies want to have completed this part of the project’s task by the end of this year.

Besides the technocratic details, work also needs to be carried out at a diplomatic level to secure the European Commission’s backing of the Russian pipeline plan for Europe’s south. Gazprom, Edison, and DEPA officials will seek to secure the EU executive body’s official support for the project by the end of this year. This has already been unofficially granted, it is believed.

The age-old ITGI plan linking Greece and Italy was never carried out but this could now be developed and utilized as part of Russia’s latest plan for natural gas supply to Europe via the south.