Hellenic Petroleum and Russian oil company Rosneft are expected to sign a memorandum of understanding on Friday in the context of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Athens. The agreement will concern setting up a task force that will examine cooperation possibilities regarding the supply of Russian crude and the trading of refinery products.
The Russian side on Thursday confirmed its interest in signing the memorandum on Friday. Rosneft chairman Igor Sechin, who is accompanying Putin on his visit, will sign the memorandum for the Russians, while Grigoris Stergioulis, the chief executive of Hellenic Petroleum, will sign it for the Greek side.
Both Hellenic Petroleum and the Environment and Energy Ministry kept mum on the expected agreement on Thursday, which was understandable because the main focus of Putin’s visit is cooperation with Greece on the transmission of Russian gas to the European Union. This is the plan for South Stream II, which relies on the use of the old blueprint for the Interconnector Greece-Italy pipeline for the transmission of gas to Europe via Italy.
Athens has expressed its intention to support that project through the memorandum signed by Greece’s Public Gas Corporation (DEPA), Russia’s Gazprom and Italy’s Edison in Rome on February 24 for the examination of its possible implementation. The three companies have undertaken to draft a study on the project by the end of the year. Given that the European Commission has disputed the feasibility of the project and that the US is openly against it, citing the dependence of the European market on Russian gas, Athens has to tread a fine line on the matter.