Russia’s foreign minister Sergey Lavrov is scheduled to be in Athens this Wednseday to deliver a speech at an energy conference being held within the framework of the 4th Greek-Russian Social Forum, which, in turn, is part of the wider “2016 – Year of Greek-Russian Friendship” series of events.
The energy ties between Greece and Russia will be at the core of the Russian diplomat’s visit. The energy association between the two countries was established nearly 25 years ago with the development of the natural gas pipeline linking Burgas, on Bulgaria’s Black Sea Coast, with Alexandroupoli, northeast Greece.
More recently, Greece and Russia have discussed development of the South Stream and Turkish Stream pipelines, but neither plan has yet to make progress.
Greece’s energy minister Panos Skourletis, foreign minister Nikos Kotzias, as well as Russia’s deputy energy minister Yanovsky Anatoly, will also deliver speeches at Wednesday’s conference.
The restablishment of diplomatic ties beween Russia and Turkey has rekindled hopes for the Turkish Stream plan, which, if developed, would run from the Greek-Turkish border, through northern Greece, and across the Adriatic Sea to Italy.
Lavrov, who is seeking to put the ball in the court of the European Commission for the project’s endorsement, is expected to seek support from Athens for Turkish Stream’s development. Brussels has remained hesitant.
Turkish Stream, along with the TAP project now in progress as well as plans for the development of LNG facilities promise to elevate Greece’s energy role in the wider region.
Gazprom’s CEO Alexey Miller, seeking to put the spotlight on Brussels, announced today that Turkish Stream’s pipelines, reaching all the way to Turkey, will be ready by the end of 2019.