‘South European Pipeline’ a model of cooperation, minister notes

The Greek-Russian natural gas pipeline agreements signed just days ago in St Petersburg demonstrate that Greece, despite the recession and difficulties, is capable of building bridges and playing a leading role in paving the way for security in the energy sector and economy, Production Reconstruction, Environment and Energy Minister Panagiotis Lafazanis noted on his return to Athens over the weekend.

Offering comments to reporters, Lafazanis described the “South European pipeline”, Russia’s latest proposal for natural gas supply to Europe via the south, from the Greek-Turkish border as a “good pipeline” for a different Europe, one not split by post-Cold War divisions. The project has previously been refered to as “Turkish Stream”.

“The pipeline plan we agreed to in St Petersburg does not damage any third parties. On the contrary, it benefits all citizens and nations, offering an opportunity for access to natural gas and multiple options,” commented Lafazanis on a cooperative deal signed for the project’s Greek segment. “We’re not stopping any country that possesses natural gas and wants to transmit it through our territory. Greece supports the TAP project to carry Azeri gas, it supports the “south European pipeline” for Russia natural gas, and we are ready to also back a pipleline [East Med] to carry natural gas from the east Mediterranean.”

Greece can develop as a free-flowing energy bridge offering options for gas-producing countries and recipient countries needing gas and, generally, energy products, the minister noted.

The south European pipeline will be developed as a 50-50 joint venture between two companies representing Greek and Russian public-sector interests, Lafazanis noted.

“Above all, it is a major project for Greece. All citizens, regardless of ideological differences, are called upon to embrace and support its development, as it will offer substantial benefits for our national interests, the Greek economy and all the country’s people,” Lafazanis noted.

The US has already expressed its opposition to this pipeline proposal from Russia, while the EU is maintaining reservations.