Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is due to meet with Russian officials in Thessaloniki on Saturday morning to discuss the possibility of the Turkish Stream pipeline, which will carry Russian natural gas to Turkey, being extended to Greece.
Tsipras is due to meet Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich at 11.30 a.m., a few hours before the Greek premier delivers the keynote speech at the Thessaloniki International Fair.
Kathimerini understands that Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak will also attend the meeting. He was due to arrive in Greece for this purpose on the previous night.
Novak had signed a preliminary agreement with his then Greek counterpart, Panayiotis Lafazanis, in June 2015 for Greece’s participation in the project, which would see the pipeline extended from the Greek-Turkish border.
However, the project was shelved in the ensuing months, when relations between Ankara and Moscow deteriorated dramatically. The plans to transport Russian gas to Turkey were revived in the wake of a meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Moscow in August.
Russian gas firm Gazprom announced this week that it received a permit from the Turkish government for the development of the pipeline, which is seen carrying 31.5 billion cubic meters of natural gas per year via the Black Sea.
Gazprom CEO Alexey Miller said on September 5 that there is an agreement with Ankara that the pipeline should run to Turkey’s border with Greece, allowing it to be extended from there should Greece or Italy be interested in doing so.
Tsipras and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi were expected to discuss the issue at Friday’s EUMed summit in Athens, amid apparent interest from Italian energy firm Edison in combining the Turkish Stream with the IGI Poseidon pipeline carrying natural gas from Greece to Italy.