Greece, FYROM mulling Thessaloniki-Skopje gas pipeline, says minister


Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) are working on the idea of a new gas pipeline that will connect Thessaloniki with Skopje, as part of the improving ties between the two countries, Greek Energy Minister Giorgos Stathakis said on Friday, speaking at the Southeast Europe Energy Forum held in Thessaloniki.

“We hope everything will work out well with the Greece-FYROM agreement, that we will be able to call it [FYROM] North Macedonia a year from today, and part of this improvement in our relations will have an impact on pipeline construction,” he told his counterparts from Bulgaria, Serbia and Israel, participating in the panel.

“We are working on the idea of a new gas pipeline that will connect Greece with FYROM … Thessaloniki with Skopje … upgrading both our relations and the energy supply for the two neighboring countries and the wider region,” he added.

Stathakis said Greece might also get involved further in the EastMed Pipeline Project, which will cross from Israel and Cyprus into Greece and Italy, if the relevant studies being carried out prove suitable for the country.

He said the construction of the planned Interconnector Greece-Bulgaria (IGB) gas pipeline is expected to start in 2020.

“It is a very important project. We completed the technical issues and we are at the stage where we will announce the call for an expression of interest,” he said, adding that “Greece is working on projects that offer a very important diversification of energy supply sources in the region.”

Commenting on the selection of the Hellenic Petroleum (HELPE), Total and Exxon Mobil consortium to conduct hydrocarbon research off western and northwestern Crete, the minister described it as “a very important project” that will “increase Greece's self-confidence.”