Russia in town for energy talks


The meetings that Russian Deputy Prime Minister and board chairman at Russian Railways Arkady Dvorkovich is scheduled to have in Athens on Friday with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, Infrastructure Minister Christos Spirtzis and the chief of sell-off fund TAIPED, Stergios Pitsiorlas, are likely to shed light on Russia’s intentions regarding Greek privatizations.

Moscow’s main priority in the visit of the senior Russian government official is energy cooperation and the continued effort for the construction of the new Russian pipeline that would cross Turkey and Greece to Central Europe. However, the latter project appears to have lost momentum due to the deterioration in relations between Moscow and Ankara, the departure of Panayiotis Lafazanis from the Greek Energy Ministry and Washington’s strong resistance.

Discussions will also involve the possible participation of Russian Railways in the ongoing tenders for the privatization of Greek railway companies Trainose and Rosco.

In Trainose’s case in particular, for which the binding offers have a submission deadline of end-December, there will likely be an extension of a few months to satisfy the wish of both potential suitors. If Russian Railways does participate, it will also factor in its offer the developments in the tender for Thessaloniki Port Authority (OLTH), for which it is also a suitor. US firm Watco Companies also appears to be seeking more time.