ITGI Poseidon, a partnership established by DEPA, the Greek gas utility, and Italy’s Edison, is moving to develop Turkish Stream’s Greek segment – from a point at the Greek-Turkish borders running across the country’s north for an Adriatic Sea crossing to Italy – as long as Russia’a Gazprom chooses to support this plan as an additional supply route to Europe.
The big question at this stage is whether Gazprom will choose Greek or Bulgarian territory for the continuation of Turkish Stream, whose initial segment is planned to supply the Turkish market.
Roughly one month ago, certain international media outlets reported that Gazprom has chosen Bulgaria as its favored route for the pipeline’s extension beyond Turkey. However, a leading Gazprom official, Elena Burmistrova, chief executive at Gazprom Export, quickly denied these reports, noting that all options are still being examined, including ITGI Poseidon’s extension of Turkish Stream through Greece.
Like the TAP project, Turkish Stream’s extension would be developed as an independent natural gas system without any links to the national grid at any point.
According to sources, ITGI Poseidon has already submitted an application to RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, for a project license as an independent system. Then, as its next step, ITGI Poseidon plans to stage a market test. Gazpom would need to reserve a capacity that makes the pipeline sustainable if the project’s development is to progress.
Three years ago, Turkish Stream’s Greek extension represented a key part of the newly elected leftist Syriza party’s effort to establish closer energy ties with Russia and defy EU obligations. It has since become clear that the project can only be developed within the framework of EU regulations set for independent natural gas systems and terms included in the EU’s third energy package.
At the other end, Russia, too, will seek guarantees from Brussels before reaching any Turkish Stream extension decisions.
Just over a year ago, Gazprom, Edison and DEPA signed an agreement to develop the Southern Corridor at a ceremony attended by Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.