Putin, Tsipras Discuss Planned Gas Pipeline through Turkey, Greece
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras have discussed over the phone the planned construction of a pipeline that will carry Russian natural gas to Turkey and Greece.
“Practical steps to implement the agreements reached during Alexis Tsipras’ recent working visit to Russia were discussed, in particular the planned construction of gas transportation infrastructure through Turkey and Greece.” the Kremlin press service said in a statement on Friday. It didn’t elaborate.
News of the telephone conversation came shortly before Tsipras is scheduled to report to the parliament in Athens about progress in Greece’s reforms-for-cash talks with its international creditors.
Although the name Turkish Stream wasn’t mentioned in the statement, Putin said during Tsipras' visit to Moscow in April that the pipeline project could help Greece become one of the main gas distribution centres in Europe and attract considerable investment.
In December 2014 Gazprom announced the planned construction of Turkish Stream, which will run underneath the Black Sea from Russia to Turkey from where it would to go a gas hub at the border with Greece. A pipeline through Greece could then link Turkish Stream to EU markets.
“Russian officials denied that Putin and Tsipras had discussed a big loan to Athens” to help cash-strapped Greece but “Moscow has indicated in the past that this project could become a vehicle for extending financial support to Greece”, the FT said in its coverage of the news.
Turkish Stream was unveiled as a replacement to the South Stream project abandoned by Moscow over objections from the European Commission.
The Russian energy giant said back then that Turkish Stream will be able to carry 63 billion cubic meters of Russian gas per year to Turkey underneath the Black Sea. Out of the total, Turkey will use 16 billion cubic meters to meet its domestic needs, while the remaining 47 billion cubic meters could be pumped to a future gas hub on Turkey’s border with Greece, for delivery to EU markets.
Putin and Tsipras also agreed to meet at the St Petersburg economic conference on 18-20 June, according to the statement.
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